Tuesday 31 January 2017

An Unusual Overnight Stay

Our accommodation while we were in New Zealand varied from staying with relatives and friends, motels in all sorts of locations, B&B with some very hospitable hosts and an airport hotel. I had researched it all before we went and it was all of a great standard. The most unusual however was our stay in the grounds of New Zealand's only castle.
Larnach Castle is on the Otago peninsula just outside Dunedin. It was built in the 1870's by William Larnach who had made himself considerable money as a banker in the goldfields of Victoria, Australia. He was also a member of the New Zealand parliament.

It was built by craftsman from as far away as England in a style of the Victorian Gothic revival combined with an Australian homestead. The result was quite interesting! Sadly after family tragedy it went through a turbulent period before being virtually abandoned. It was not until the 1960's that the present family bought the property and started a period of restoration.

When we arrived in Dunedin it was raining hard as it had been doing all day. Our journey out onto the peninsula was through thick sea mist. We could see nothing as we drove along the cliff hugging road. Larnach Lodge was a welcome sight to us with our well appointed room overlooking the harbour. Sadly we could see nothing!

Part of our deal for the night was free admission to the castle and garden so we hoped for better weather in the morning. Meanwhile we had booked in for a three course dinner in the castle house party style. We were not disappointed after drinks on the covered veranda we ate at a large table in the music room. This photo shows the veranda.

Fortunately we woke the next morning to a clearing sky and the view was gradually revealed to us.

We had a good wander after breakfast around this intriguing house which has a real family feel about it. The views from the roof were quite stunning both of the view

and of the garden.

We were indeed lucky that the weather improved for us to be able to really enjoy the beautiful gardens.

The owner Margaret Barker still works in the gardens herself at times and the personal influence is evident.

It is a mixture of formal and a more relaxed style.

Making the most of the natural landscape.

And the architecture of the house.

It was certainly a worthwhile visit and a night we will remember for some style. It is a package that could so easily be replicated in many of our stately homes.

Monday 30 January 2017

It's Monday : A Stack of Mail

I am a bit late waving to Sian and all the Monday bloggers today. It's been a busy day catching up on jobs.
So what has arrived in our post box this week? Well we returned home on Saturday to find a pile of mail waiting for us. Sad to say it was mainly bills but there were a couple of items of interest. One was my National Trust magazine and new handbook.

It's good to browse through in January and to plan some trips for later in the year.
Then I also had this which I think probably arrived soon after I left.

A Christmas card from my sister in America. Thanks Julie! Christmas seems a long time ago. When we arrived in New Zealand decorations were still up which was not surprising as it was only January 1st. What did suprise us when we stayed in a couple of B&Bs in mid January was that both still had decorations up. Don't they know it's bad luck after Twelth Night?
Oh and here's a little decoration we bought for our tree next year.

Have a good week!

Sunday 29 January 2017


I have picked a few of my pictures from our holiday for The Winter Photography Scavenger Hunt for No. 14 Repetition.
The first few are all from the Sculpture Trail on Waiheke Island. Some are close ups of some I showed the other day. This is a detail of one of the boats seen below on the hill.

I asked the other day what did you think the shell was made of. The answer is flip flops.

Then there was the ribbons in the trees.

Or some creaking doors.

Then in Dunedin we made a visit to the railway station which is quite famous for his entrance hall. There is definite repetition to the floor design. Unfortunately it was too busy to get a picture with no tourists in.

Saturday 28 January 2017

Turquoise Water

Well we are now back home after our adventures but I still have quite a few sights to show you. One of the most impressive places we visited was Hokitika Gorge. The first view you get is as you descend the path to the first view point.

The water coming down into this gorge is a vivid sparkling turquoise. The other view points are reached over a swing bridge.

Then along a path through native forest.

The colour is caused by rock flour in the water, a combination of ground down schist and greywacke. 

A truly beautiful spot.

The gorge is reached by a country road leading about 25km outside the town of Hokitika through scenic dairy farmland.

Friday 27 January 2017

Animal Signs

While I have been away in New Zealand I have rather neglected the Winter Photography Scavenger Hunt. Well that's not entirely true because I have been keeping an eye out for possibilities.
So here we are waiting at Dubai Airport. I have that kind of deja vue feeling. Last time we sat almost in the same place on our way out for our adventures. It was foggy and we had several hours delay. This time all is clear but dark so we have no more of a view outside. The good news is however that at the moment our connection to Heathrow is on time.
I don't think you have seen the last of New Zealand. I still have lots of posts to show you and today I have chosen No. 4 A signpost of an image of an animal. When I first saw this choice I rubbed my hands together knowing I would find a few of these on our travels.
This first one was in the Far North at Mangonui. No sign of the penguins though!

This next one was pretty common in certain areas. The kiwi is an endangered ground bird which is also vulnerable beacause it is nocturnal. It is also preyed upon by stoats and stray dogs. Our only view of one was a viewing area in a sanctuary.

We saw a lot of this next one and of course the farmer was very interested in the real thing. We caught this on a quiet side road. Not all had added eyes.There were plenty of sheep ones too but windy roads aren't ideal for stopping.

This duck sign was on the side of Lake Wanaka.

Would you believe me if I told you this last one was at Christchurch Airport?

It was outside the Antarticia venue near our hotel.

Wednesday 25 January 2017

Sculpture to Suit All

Our holiday is nearly at an end and we have returned to where we started out to spend a last 24 hours with my Aunt and Uncle on Waiheke Island.

We are lucky that our visit coincides with the biennial Sculpture Trail on the island. Headland Sculpture on the Gulf officially starts tomorrow but we were able to have a bit of a preview walk around.

The sculptures are designed and made by both local artists and those from further afield.

They are made from quite a variety of materials.

Some make a dramatic statement.

Whilst others are more modest.

They are mainly all for sale.

Should you have sufficient funds.

They are made from a variety of materials. Can you see what this one is made from?

Some use natural settings to show off their qualities.

The natural background enhances many of them.

Audio effects compliment some of them.