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Posts Tagged ‘Tauranga’

The girls arrived from Melbourne last week.  After some shopping and cafe and library visiting on Monday, we headed north (with girls’ boyfriends) to Tauranga, or Omokoroa to be exact.  It was a sunny day to begin with and we got a stunning view of Mt Ruapehu on the way, with more snow than is usual for this time of year.

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We stopped at the “Prawn park” near Taupo for lunch.  The prawns were unexciting – quite tasteless in fact, and expensive.  Never mind.  It filled a gap.  The sun continued until we were about to hit Tauranga and then the weather turned to shit – grey cloud and drizzle.

The accommodation was a house that the girls had found and booked online.  It would’ve had a nice view if it wasn’t for the shit weather.  The forecast wasn’t looking great for the following day, our visit to Hobbiton near Matamata.  In the evening we got fish and chips from a nearby takeaway and played Settlers of Catan.  We watched a DVD of “Elysium”.  Not bad.  H & C had chosen two DVDs for their boyfriends – “Elysium” for L and “Need for Speed” for W.  As it happens they’d both watched the respective movies.  Oh well.  Good choice for their interests – too good as they’d already seen them.

It rained all night and was still pretty miserable in the morning.  We used W’s car to head over the Kaimai ranges to Hobbiton.  The tour had already been booked and paid for so we went, rain or shine.  It wasn’t quite so miserable on the other side of the ranges and only rained or drizzled intermittently.  It was quite a set-up.  I had imagined some small scale operation but there were several buses which took tourists to the site and the obligatory, over-priced gift shop and cafe.  We were provided with umbrellas although I had my own.

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A wet entrance to Hobbiton (through which Gandalf is supposed to have entered in his cart)

The track led to a communal vegetable garden surrounded by various hobbit holes.

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One of the humbler abodes

The variety and detail of the different hobbit holes was incredible.

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A window detail

A window detail

We headed up the hill to Bag End, home of Bilbo and Frodo.  The layout and views of the whole place were just amazing.

dec17 045And there it was…

Bag End

Bag End

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Incidentally, the tree above Bag End is completely fake, each leaf attached individually.  Apparently, Peter Jackson believed it was the wrong shade of green and had all the leaves repainted.  What a task.  He’s such a perfectionist.

The view from Bag End

The view from Bag End

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Unfortunately, the weather made for a featureless white sky which didn’t make for stunning photos.  H complained but there was nothing we could do about it.  It didn’t detract from the experience in my opinion.

We then headed down to the party field (as seen in the above photo, the large pine tree being the “party tree”).  We passed more hobbit holes…

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and reached the party field.

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Great view of the tree above Bag End.  Sam’s house was nearby.

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All the gardens were lovely.  They have full-time gardeners.  The veges are real and they harvest and use them.

We then headed downhill past the lake to the Green Dragon Inn.

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The inside was wonderful – so atmospheric.  I wish it was a local – I’d go there often.

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The views from the lovely little windows were just wonderful.

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A specially-brewed beer was part of the tour and we enjoyed it with pork and beef pies.  It was a great end to an amazing tour, despite the weather.  We wanted to stay for longer, and H wanted to return for a night tour, when all the windows of each hobbit hole would be lit up and you have dinner at the Green Dragon.  Something to do another time, perhaps.  The tour was expensive but it was worth it to see such an amazing movie set.

dec17 140I wanted to live there!

We returned over the Kaimai ranges and bought Thai takeaways at Mt Maunganui.  Another game of Settlers of Catan, and the other movie, “Need for Speed”.  It was hard not to think of the actor as Jesse off “Breaking Bad”, crying again for losing someone he cared about.

The next day it looked quite a nice day.  A tranquil morning, which allowed for some photos of the views from the accommodation.

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While the others still slept (naturally) I watched the wildlife.

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We were leaving that day.  C and W were heading north to Coromandel.  L had to work the next day, so we headed back south.  Who lays tiles outside a front door of a house?  After all the rain, it was really slippery and I fell and bruised a shin.  ****ing stupid.  It still rained on and off all the way to Rotorua.  We decided to make a detour to see the redwood forest, which we hadn’t been to before.  The traffic in Rotorua was a nightmare.  I would hate to live there.

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H and L

H and L

What a stunning place.  I would love to see mature redwoods.  These were just young trees.

We stopped for lunch at Taupo.  The Desert Road was misty and wet but it cleared up south of there.  I felt tired so at Taihape H took over the driving.  We dropped L off back home and then returned to an empty house.  I couldn’t wait to get Jasmine back from the cattery the next morning.  (She miaowed a lot when she got back and constantly checked that we hadn’t left.  She needed lots of cuddles.)

It was great having had a holiday before most people had finished work for the year.  The traffic was mostly light and there weren’t that many people about.  We’ve done our ‘holiday’ and still have Xmas to come.  It didn’t feel like the year had ended so quickly as it usually does when you work up to Xmas eve.

Next week we’re all off to bro’s for Xmas – more food and drink and, naturally, Settlers of Catan.

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I had a lovely four-day weekend.  I headed up to Tauranga on the Friday at a leisurely pace.  I headed out about 10 am and stopped beside Lake Taupo for lunch.  It was beautifully sunny when I left but was rather cloudy near Taihape and through the Desert Road.  There are only four places you can stop on the Desert Road, overlooking the volcanoes of Ruapehu, Ngauruhoe and Tongariro.  Two of those places have no view of the mountains; one has a view of Ruapehu but partially obscured by power lines; and the other is just a space on the side of the road at the top of a hill.  You have to be travelling south and know when it’s coming up to spot it.  I, therefore, had to snap while driving, which is often hit and miss.

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Mt Ruapehu, approaching Waiouru

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Mt Ngauruhoe

Despite the cloud, it didn’t rain and the road was perfectly dry until I got to Tokoroa and it was as if someone had hosed down all the streets.  The roads in and out of Tokoroa were bone dry and the town itself completely wet.  Quite bizarre.  I drove through pine forest country (and behind logging trucks) to Putaruru, where I turned off to drive over the Kaimai ranges.

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I used my new GPS and it was very handy, particularly near Tauranga as I hadn’t been to my friend’s new place before.  The longest stretch when the Australian female didn’t say anything was, after “Continue for 133 kilometers…” 132 km.  Fascinating to hear the mispronunciation of certain place names.  Even Cheltenham, a pretty basic English name, was pronounced “Chel TEN ham”.  “Mataroa” Road (long a) became something like “MaTArola” (short a).  Made me either laugh or frown in confusion.

I reached my friend’s house just at the right time.  She (A) was off with friends to ride horses, while her husband (M) and daughter (K) and her partner were about to head into town to the pub.  I joined them.  After five hours of driving I was ready for a drink.  We sat in one of the many bars opening out to the sea (The Strand, I think it’s called) and had an Erdinger Weissbier (on tap!).  Very nice.  M’s old school friends were at the pub too – nice couple.  Very pleasant.  I enjoyed K’s company too.  She is now living in South Victoria, Australia, and has an Aussie accent.  (I found her much easier to talk to than M’s other, older, daughter.).  After a couple of beers, we headed to an Italian pizza place (where the guy was actually Italian and greeted us with Buena sera).  While we waited for the pizzas, we had a Peroni beer.  Back to their place for pizza and wine.  Old school friend, D, turned up from Auckland.

The next day was all about preparing for M’s 60th party.  They had a marquee attached to the side of the house and we set up tables and chairs, barbecues, etc.  K made salads while A and I went to the supermarket to pick up more stuff, and helium balloons.  A good party, well attended, and their pilates teacher sang a few songs – she has a very good voice.  Another old school friend, F, appeared in the evening.  I hadn’t seen her for three years.   Chatted to various people (including ones I’d never met before), danced a bit, and collapsed about 12.30 am.  I hadn’t slept well the previous night.  I missed the helium hilarity, but did hear people shouting at each other (instead of talking) until past 1 am.

A nice, communal cooked breakfast in the morning, a wander around the property, and I headed off in the car about 1.15 pm.  I returned home via Rotorua, stopping beside Lake Ngahewa for lunch.

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A and M had suggested taking the Broadlands road via Reporoa which I did.  It was a nice straight road, with little traffic.

On the Desert Road, I stopped at the place I’d spotted when heading north, so I could get a good picture of the mountains.

Mt Ruapehu

Mt Ruapehu

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Mt Ngauruhoe

I arrived home at 6 pm.

On Monday, I did some weeding, and planting of the bushes I’d bought previously, and mowed the lawn.  I also organised for a couple of dead trees to be chopped down.  I had meant to get my WOF for the car today, but I completely forgot.

I sat on the new outdoor seats that H had bought and enjoyed the sunshine.   A great weekend.  I actually felt like I’d had a holiday and realised that I didn’t want to go back to work at all.  It suddenly hit me that I found my job incredibly boring and only enjoyed life when I wasn’t at work.

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Sundry meanderings

I just returned from four wonderful days in Tauranga.  A friend of mine moved there late last year from Auckland and bought this lovely house complete with small swimming pool, spa, deck, spacious rooms and lots of sun and moved in with her new partner.  I spent some time with them in January, loved the time off, and realised how miserable my life was in comparison.  That was the urge to find another job, realising how much I hated my work.  Well, that’s done.  I start at my new workplace in just over two weeks’ time.  Having had another few lovely sunny days and coming back to dismal grey cloud and cold, I realise again that my damp house is full of clutter and I do need to get things done to it and perhaps move to a sunnier clime.  Obviously not this year.  I’ll work at this new job for a while, meantime de-cluttering, and working on getting some parts of the house fixed up.  Then I might think about a big move – perhaps to Napier or somewhere on the east coast where the climate is far nicer.  I think I’ve had enough of the greyness of the Manawatu.  One step at a time though.

I had an email from the supervisor while I’m off work this week.  Seems Nick is away today and there’s no-one who knows how to do something only Nick and I know to do.  Supervisor has done it in the past when we’ve both been away so I don’t know why she couldn’t.  Anyway, seems the boss and a dim-witted IT person (that’s really laughable, calling her an IT person – she’s useless) can’t work out how to do this job from the instructions (which are clear).  I’m secretly laughing my head off.  They’re going to be in dire straits when I’ve left.  I do so many jobs which others have little idea how to do.  They’re going to have to follow the procedures manual (snigger).  I wonder how long it will be before they replace me.  It was five months between the time the last member of staff left and them hiring a new person.  Ahh, I am so, so glad to be out of that mismanaged madhouse.

I got a book out on Feng Shui not so long ago.  I need to rearrange my bedroom, but that involves moving stuff – and to where?  I need to be ruthless and get rid of a lot of stuff.  It’s hard.  I have my family’s tendency of hoarding.  Very very occasionally it comes in handy.  While visiting Tauranga, my friend’s partner took three of us (who were staying over Easter) on a little tiki-tour of the region.  While at Mt Maunganui, we crossed over to a little island linked to the mainland.  I remember it being a Marineland – with seals, etc, way back in the 70’s.  I mentioned this to Mike and his friend, John but neither of them could remember that being the case, and thought I might be thinking of Napier.  I began doubting myself but clearly remembered the seals.  Once back home, I delved into my clutter and found a guidebook of the region from 1973.  There it was – Marineland.  I was right.  Yes, it will be hard getting rid of stuff.  I’m too sentimental.  I have fond memories of childhood camping trips around New Zealand.  Those old maps and guidebooks could even be worth something.  Certainly the roads have changed a great deal from those days of long narrow, winding trips in old cars.  How spoilt we are now.  It takes a fraction of the time to reach places now and we still moan about the time it takes.  Not enough people take time to enjoy the actual trip.  They’re all too busy trying to pass each other at 120 kph.

It’s time to head into town. There’s little food in the house and I may head over to the brother’s place in the weekend.  I need to buy some new clothes too!

Lots of reading to catch up on blogs.  I haven’t visited here for ages.

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I found it in Tauranga.  Three glorious days of sun and sand.  My friend’s house is lovely, complete with swimming pool (although small) and spa pool.  What more could you ask for.  So relaxation by the pool with friend, gin and tonic in hand, or in spa, wine in hand – oh yes.  Just what I needed.  I got a great tan on the beaches – we went to a different one each day at Mt Maunganui, their local one, five minutes away near Matua, and Waihi Beach and Orokawa Bay.  Just beautiful.  Matakana Island looked heavenly with its white sands and forested shores.

I would include photos, but despite uploading them, they just don’t appear when I want to insert them, which is really really annoying when others seem able to include photos.

So, after three days of bliss I headed back to reality and average weather.  We have had some sun, but mostly when I’m stuck inside at work.  This holiday weekend is just awful though – warm enough but wet and windy.  Just not inspiring at all.  I had great plans for this summer – cleaning out the garage, tidying up the garden, but who wants to do that when it’s wet all the time?

Nothing happening generally.  We’re seriously understaffed at work.  A left work in November and those at the top have ONLY JUST approved the vacancy – ie, we’re now allowed to advertise the position.  God knows when the powers that be actually get around to doing that.  Meanwhile the workers are fed up and all wanting to leave.  It’s now a race to see who can escape next.

The power has been cut off, without warning.  They neve notify mere users anymore, oh no.  Just cut off your power suddenly without any notification or indication how long it might be for.  As I’m on the laptop and the battery is running low, I have to leave.

Back later, for another installment of my seemingly tedious life.

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Happy New Year!

I hope you all have a good one.  Ours has started off rather quietly and the weather thus far has been wintery.  Unbelievable that on the 1st and 2nd of January (which are usually scorchers) we shivered beside heaters while it rained miserably outside.  The worst summer in my memory.

The wedding I went to was the cheapest I’ve ever been to.  I had mislaid the invitation so obviously missed out on vital information, the main one of which was it was Casual.  Blunder number one – I was over-dressed.  I appeared at the rose garden for the ceremony and immediately regretted the high heels and makeup and naturally this was commented on by those who know me and usually see me without makeup or high heels.  Sigh.  The ceremony was very simple with just the bride (in white) and groom (casually dressed in long black shirt and pants).  One song on the CD player as the bride walked in from the other side of the rose garden.  The weather held (it threatened rain) and the bride and groom gave their vows, courtesy of Dr Seuss.  The rings had been left in the car, so rings were borrowed.  All very strange.

We were given maps for the after ‘function’.  Blunder number 2.  I knew it was a barbecue but I did (stupidly) imagine that the food would be provided.  No, it was a bring your own and I hadn’t.  So, got there (someone’s house in the middle of nowhere) and there was enough meat to share.  However, I had no drinks and was not willing to bludge some off someone else.  This was New Year’s eve, remember, and I couldn’t envisage staying another five hours waiting til midnight.  (Oh, blunder number 3 – I had a gift for the wedding couple – no-one else had).  We sat outside, but it got colder and colder.  The bride wanted people to stay until midnight and “party”, but considering many of the people were older members of family and there was no music at all, most people had left by 8.30pm.  I followed, after we were encouraged to go inside.  I took the opportunity to bid farewell and head home to my daughters and boyfriends who were playing a board game and enjoying themselves.  Yes – time for a beer or wine (or both) and so began the evening proper.

Can’t say I enjoyed the wedding.  If you’re going to have one and you plan for it months ahead, surely you can save a bit for packets of meat to feed the guests, provide music or some entertainment to keep them there for hours…..  I guess everyone has different ideas and I guess the main thing was that they shared their day with friends and family.

I am about to head off to Tauranga in my daughter’s car.  I just hope that one doesn’t break down on me.  It’s a six hour drive.  I also hope I find some sun over there.  If not there, then it won’t be anywhere.  The sun is out but fighting for space with the clouds and it’s decidedly cool.  It feels more like autumn than summer.  The weather is “fucked” to put it bluntly.

All the best all.  I shall be back next week.

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