Movies, Travel - New Zealand

Hobbiton movie set tour

At the moment I’m visiting my parents in New Zealand, at the same time that relatives from the UK have come visiting (hence the reason I’m visiting now instead of Christmas).  One of my requests for the trip was to drive down south to Matamata to visit the Hobbiton Movie Set – my relatives decided they’d like to do it too, so we spent a day together doing the tour, then finishing with a drive over to Mt Maunganui beach and an awesome pub meal at the Rosie O’Grady’s Irish pub.  Here are just a sampling of photos from the trip to Hobbiton … it was an awesome day out! 🙂


Diptic (2)

Diptic (3)


Auckland, Food, Photo Hunt, PhotoHunt

Photo Hunt: Greasy


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This week’s theme is ”Greasy” and this meal from a favourite el cheapo dining place in Auckland (“Kiwi Country”) should taste greasy with that deep-fried chicken, but it never ever does.  One of the things I miss from working in Auckland city centre is picking up the occasional lunch from here.  It’s located in a little side street, downstairs below street level, and is a real little goldmine – my Mum keeps up the family tradition now and occasionally visits with a dear family friend, and of course we pop in ourselves when I’m visiting Auckland.  My mouth is salivating already at that chicken dipped in chilli sauce and that succulent crispy salad – yum!

Auckland, Balloons, Drinks, PhotoHunt, Port Douglas, Queensland, Travel - Australia, Travel - New Zealand

Photo Hunts – Busy & Machine(s)

I’ts been a very long time since I’ve completed a Photo Hunt post, so I’ll be aiming to catch up with some previous photo hunts that I previously missed, as well as trying to keep up with the latest ones once more … not sure how long it’ll last, but here goes …

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This week’s theme is ”Busy” and here is a very Busy photo of colourful balloons at the Auckland annual concert, Coca-Cola’s Christmas in the Park.

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Back on 12 March the theme was ”Machine(s)” – here is a gentleman in the Port Douglas outdoor markets cranking out sugar cane juice on his industrial strength juicing Machine … seriously delishimo (in my eyes) with a squeeze of lime added to offset the high sugar content!!!  I’m salivating just thinking of that icy sweet nectar!

Port Douglas 4


ABC Wednesday, Birds, Christmas Ornaments, Gannets, Napier & Hawkes Bay, Travel - New Zealand

ABC Wednesday – G

Here is my choice for this week’s “ABC Wednesday” – brought to you by the Letter “G” … Gannets from the colony at Cape Kidnappers, Hawkes Bay, New Zealand:

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2008 12 15_1416

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And this week’s “one I prepared earlier, stitchy/crafty content” is “Golden Garland” ornament from the 2005 JCS Christmas ornie issue:

Golden Garland


Cross Stitch, Exchanges, Needlerolls, Photo Hunt, PhotoHunt, Travel - New Zealand

Photo Hunt – Stripes (9 October)

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The theme on 9 October was ”Stripes” and here are some stripes on the skirts of a Maori cultural group in Rotorua, New Zealand.  The Maori name for the skirt is “piupiu”, and it is a traditional item of clothing made from flax leaves.  I love the swishing sound it makes when it swirls and the dried flax hit each other.  If you want to see some traditional piupiu, you can find some here on the Te Papa Museum website.

ROT-Maori Cultural group_0002

And in keeping with trying to find stitching/needlework examples of the weekly themes, here is the unmade needleroll that I stitched for an exchange years ago – it was a self-made design by using some elements from other designs and making some parts up … I was quite pleased with the end result.

Melanies Exchange for Paula

Cairns, Paronella Park, Queensland, Queenstown, Travel

Queensland capers (part 1)

Last week Mum flew back to Australia with me, and after a 24-hour layover in Sydney we jumped on another plane and flew up to Cairns in Queensland.  We had six nights in a two-bedroom apartment, and enjoyed some peaceful rest and relaxation … and even managed to do some sightseeing, regardless of the fact that it was raining and overcast most days.

On our first day we stocked up with wine at the local bottle shop and food from the local super-expensive (!) supermarket and had dinner in the apartment.  The next day we wandered along the waterfront for a while then spent the rest of the day stitching.


On our 2nd full day in Cairns we wandered along the waterfront in the pouring rain and picked up a rental car before going shopping where I managed to add some new ‘fatty’ clothes to my suitcase, and was absolutely thrilled with my purchases, including some lovely 3/4 cotton pants that came in handy during the holiday.  We also called into a proper supermarket and stocked up on the remaining items we needed for the week (at half the price of what we had been paying previously!). I was also really thrilled to see “real” Halloween pumpkins for sale over here for the first time ever (at least that I’ve seen).

Pumpkins at Coles

After gaining our wheels, our first day of proper sightseeing saw us heading south to Babinda, where we went for a shortish wander through the bush to the Devils Pool Walk and then further on to the Babinda Boulders.  It was lovely to stretch our legs in a natural setting, and the views were lovely.

Babinda Boulders

We then headed further south and drove through Innisfail to Paronella Park.  We started our visit off with a scrumptious devonshire tea (I’m sure those who know me well from previous posts will not be surprised by this!) – then joined a guided tour around the property.  We were surprised to learn we had spent an entire 2 hours on the grounds by the time we left – and I have to say I think this day was the highlight of our trip for me.  Unfortunately I lugged 3kg of SLR camera gear around Queensland to no avail, as it turns out that the memory card was corrupted, and I lost all my SLR photos (of which there were tons!) … thankfully, though, I managed to take a few photos on my Lumix point and shoot, so at least we have some photographic record of the week’s events 🙂

Paronella Park is alas just ruins these days after being destroyed by a couple of cyclones, but the history is wonderfully retold by the tourguides and your imagination fills in the details that are now missing in tangible form.

Paronella Park 2

Paronella Park 1

After Paronella Park it was time to return back to Cairns and another night of stitching in front of the goggle box.

Cross Stitch, Finishes, Freebies, Great Pumpkin Challenge 2010, Halloween, Lizzie Kate, Travel, Travel - New Zealand

Still in New Zealand

I wish I could say I was here doing lots of stitching, but I can’t truthfully tell you what I’ve been doing other than sitting in front of the gogglebox and computer and just letting the hours of the day disappear before my very eyes.  I’ve got the car boot filled with boxes of junk to take to the Salvation Army over the next few days, and some not-so-junk to be picked over by family friends – then the leftovers will also get taken to the Salvo’s.

The only stitching I’ve managed has taken place over the last 24 hours or so, and are as follows:

Nathalie-Chatrouille freebie
“Chatrouille” freebie by Nathalie
(the freebie is still available
Stitched on 32ct Merino hand-dyed Belfast linen by
with DMC threads (except I messed up and used 310 instead of 3799
for the cat and lettering … oops)

LizzieKate-Welcome Baby
“Welcome Baby” by Lizzie*Kate
Stitched on 28ct pink/white checked Graziano linen
with DMC threads
(have to say I MUCH prefer the boy’s version of this one!)
I still have to add the little rose button when I get home before framing

Here are a few piccies of Auckland from our first day of driving around after a visit to The Embroiderer … where we were VERY restrained and only bought two copies of this year’s JCS ornie magazine (Mum kindly treated me to my copy, as I’ve bought one for her the last few years).  Rightio, here are some snippets from Auckland:

Auckland skyline from the harbour bridge (north side)
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Kiwi (New Zealand) flag at Ponsonby
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Art sculpture at a city park in Auckland – these ‘buried’ buildings have always intrigued me
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Sidewalk mosaic with Polynesian style
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Rangitoto Island – an Auckland icon that will always make me think of home
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Auckland skyline from Doug Myer Robinson Park
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And a couple of Kiwi foods that we don’t often see in Australia …
first Kumara (Kiwi sweet potato), and then Tamarillos (known as the Kiwi tree tomato)
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2010 10 02_4440

Home & Family TO BE FIXED, Mt Ruapehu, skiing, snow, Travel, Travel - New Zealand

Volcanoes for Dot

Dot left a comment on my Santorini photo that she adores volcanoes, so here are a few more just especially for Dot!

Here is the club skifield I used to go to regularly (I used to be the Club Secretary) – this is Tukino skifield on Mt Ruapehu in the north island of New Zealand … and an active volcano!  After one particularly active period we had to spend hours and hours cleaning out the club rooms … you would not believe how hard ash is to remove, and how invasive it is, it gets everywhere!!  I have some wonderful memories of my times on that mountain with my skiing buddies … from back in the days when I was fit! 

The photo of me here, is my first ever skiing experience – what a hoot! 😀


In the next photo you can see a wee bit of steam up at the top – this is from our ash cleaning weekend … now you know what a skifield can look like in summer (note that our skifields in New Zealand are at a higher altitude in mountainous regions, and don’t have lush trees to ski around – they’re generally beautiful wide open spaces, often with exquisite views).

Tukino_0003 (2)

Tukino_0001 (2)

And this is how we’d have to get up the mountain in the first place – no tarsealed roads here, we had to dump our cars at the bottom then pile everything into our ‘mountain goat’ trucks and take a slow drive to the top. I few times we’d have to bring the bulldozer down and clear the road ahead of us due to heavy snowfall, and one night we finally had to give up and grab our backpacks and climb the rest of the way in thigh-high snow – I remember we arrived at the top just as the sun was coming up … that was an adventure and a half!


And the next few are ‘just for fun’ … not sure I should really be posting a piccie of our R18 snowman, but it has a nice shot of the volcano behind him! 😛 This is also from my first week’s holiday at the skifield, and was the start of oh so many afterwards! This photo is of Doreen, myself and Brenda … and our anatomically proud snowman! 😛

Here he is “in progress” …


Of course he doesn’t just look gorgeous from the front, he also had the cutest butt cheeks in the world LOL. Here’s Vicki’s Dad, Ross, and our snowman surveying the view and pondering the meaning of life… (I LOVE this shot!!)


And here is where we spent most of our time – our club rooms on Tukino … this is a photo of myself and Ross, Vicki’s Dad, off to the slopes 🙂


And … lucky last … “the gang’s all here” … a mandatory group shot of us from my first skiing week – here’s one of my adopted families, that of my very best friend Vicki. Sadly, Ross is no longer with us, but we had the BEST holidays and adventures when we were growing up – I’m incredibly blessed for having known them, and they’ve helped to shape me into the confident person that I am today 😀


Auckland, Photo Hunt, PhotoHunt, Scenic Sunday, Travel - New Zealand

Photo Hunt – Cuddly; & Scenic Sunday

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This week’s theme is ”Cuddly” and here are some cuddly lion cubs … don’t ya just wanna pick one up and give him a cuddle, or am I the only one?? 😛

Cuddly 1

Cuddly 2

Here is my choice for this week’s Scenic Sunday – this photo is in honour of my visit home this week … this is an old photo of yachts in Waitemata Harbour, Auckland, with the sky tower in the background.  (It’s a scan of a print photo, so the quality isn’t fantastic.)

AKL-Waitemata harbour

Scenic Sunday