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!

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

 

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

One more sleep …

One more sleep, until I’ll be winging my way across the Pacific Ocean to Aotearoa, aka New Zealand … where I’ll definitely be seeing this view again …

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Auckland (Waitemata) Harbour from near the Harbour Bridge

Perhaps not this one this time around, but maybe there’ll be chance in Wellington …

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Maori greeting, Rotorua (Whakarewarewa thermal park)

But most definitely this one, if he’s still there at Wellington Airport …

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Gollum at Wellington Airport

This time round I’m only staying for 6 nights, and Mum and I are having a one-night stay away in Wellington just to go to Te Papa Museum.  We were only going to go down or the day, but the flights home are shocking (and unfortunately on staff travel we have to travel on stand-by … no seats, no travel …) so we figure we’ll probably end up staying overnight anyway.

Not sure whether I’ll get online while I’m away, as I’m not taking the laptop this time. 

I still haven’t packed properly yet, and we’re off to see Tim Minchin live tonight, so I’d better get my A into G!!  Looking forward to seeing him perform live, as I think he’s absolutely hilarious – a very talented, if very quirky, comedian! 😀

tim20and20piano1

Have a lovely week everyone – see you in less than 24 hours, Dragon!! 😀

Napier/Hastings … final part (photo heavy again)

Alas, Tuesday came far too quickly, and it was time to pack up again for the return drive home.  We had a leisurely start to the day and didn’t leave the motel until 10am – we started of by driving to the Silky Oak Chocolate factory and museum, where we unexpectedly ended up spending a full two hours! Not only do they have a cafe serving great food (we ended up having brunch there), but they have a really interesting Museum all about the history of chocolate – it was fascinating, and definitely worth the visit! 😀

Eggs Benedict at Silky Oak Chocolate Napier
Eggs Benedict with Bacon

Raspberry and Pear muffin at Silky Oak Chocolate Napier
Raspberry & Pear Muffin

Silky Oak chocolates

Afterwards we drove into Napier township for a visit to the information centre and a wee walk around the waterfront and streets to take some photos of some of the Art Deco buildings – we enjoyed ourselves so much that we didn’t end up leaving Napier itself until 3pm … oops! 😉

Napier fountain

Pania of the Reef Napier
One of my fave sculptures – “Pania of the Reef

Pohutukawas in bloom Napier gardens
Napier waterfront gardens, with Pohutukawa trees in bloom

If any of you are interested in Art Deco building styles, here is a selection for you.  For those of you who aren’t aware, Napier CBD was flattened by a devastating earthquake in 1931, and all of the buildings were rebuilt during the same era, giving Napier the reputation of being the capital of Art Deco architecture due to having so many buildings of that style in such a small area.

ArtDeco 1

ArtDeco 2

ArtDeco 3

ArtDeco 4

We finished off our trip to Napier by stopping at a couple of fruit sellers stalls to stock up on beautiful fresh produce.  That’s one thing I really love about NZ, there are plenty of local growers selling their fresh produce – and their quality and flavour is far superior to anything you can buy in the supermarkets.  My special treats over the couple of days away (as we bought some other fruit the previous day) were fresh strawberries (to die for!), apricots (one of my all-time fave fresh fruits), boysenberries (can’t remember the last time I saw them fresh since moving to Oz), blueberries, and black cherries … oh boy, I’m drooling again just remembering them!!!  Sheer heaven – I ADORE summer fruits 😀

Napier boysenberries

Napier blueberries

Napier cherries

We finished off our gourmet couple of days with dinner in Taupo, at the Waterside Restaurant & Bar – here the food was blissful and the service great … yet again, here are the gourmet delights we troughed through:

Taupo Dinner 1
Chicken Salad for Mum

Taupo Dinner 2
Lamb Fillet with asparagus, with Greek Tsatziki & balsamic jus for me – drool

Looking back, one of the other things that brought a smile to my face and a lump to my throat was to see all the Pohutukawa trees in bloom – these are affectionately known as the “New Zealand Christmas tree”, and their red bloom is a real delight to behold.  Tales say that if the trees bloom before Christmas, we will be in for a long hot summer … personally I just love to see their blooms colouring the skyline.

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2008 12 15_1245

Pohutukawa blossom with bee

Other things that I loved being in NZ, was that you can buy L&P everywhere you turn your head … even at the humble pie cart in an outdoor market – ah bliss 😉

Pie Cart blackboard

It was great to see the Auckland icon, the Auckland Sky Tower, with its impressive bulk shadowing over the CBD.

Auckland Sky Tower

And not to mention the vast lush “green-ness” of the countryside – unfortunately I didn’t get a great photo of it as it started to cloud over on the way home from Napier, and then rained off and on the entire way home to Auckland 😦

Rolling green hills of Hawkes Bay

But one of my biggest treats was to spend a week in the warmth of Mum’s Christmas tree – her tree has brought delight to my soul for as long as I can remember, and I made sure my final night in Auckland was spent huddled in the lounge with the warm glow of the Christmas lights … and a rare night of familial bliss as we all sat and watched the Christmas in the Park show on TV, followed by an hour of Aussie and Kiwi stand-up comics … what a great way to finish off a great holiday! 😀

Mums Xmas tree 2008

I have come home with many beautiful gifts – but no photos yet as they were bought using Christmas money, so they’re wrapped up under the tree … I’ll share photos after Christmas. What I can share, though, is the wonderful treat from Mum – a set of Prairie Schooler Santa ornies … I just adore these, and will treasure them always! Thanks so much Mum, you’re a sweetheart! 😀

Mums Prairie Schooler Santas for me

Back home again … and Christmas in the Park

Here I am sitting at my computer desk at my little flat – I got home last night, after having a really awesome time back home in NZ.  I took oodles of photos so I could document all or adventures, so I may have to spread them out over a couple of posts.

I guess I should start where I left off last time … last Friday we drove over to our closest family friends for a BBQ (including Dad).  It was really wonderful to see them again – they are the only people I “have to” see when I fly over, even if it’s just a flying visit I try hard to make sure we call round to visit.  They’re just like our family (in fact probably closer than family), and it always feels as though I’ve never been away when I see them, as there is such a level of comfort there.  It was great to see Bradley and Danial to see how much they’ve grown up, and of course always lovely to see Heather and John, Tracey and Glenn.  I always have such fond memories of our get-togethers.  Unfortunately I neglected to take photos, but Tracey took some, so I’ll have to try to get some copies down the track.

The next night (Saturday) we headed off on the train to Christmas in the Park at Auckland Domain.  We were very lucky with the weather, as the forecasted rain held off and didn’t show itself at all during the day.  I’m so glad we went (Mum and I), as it was a really super show.  Unlike Melbourne, these shows are free entry with donations made to a charity on the night by way of buying glow sticks and Santa hats etc.  They say Auckland had a record crowd this year, with approx 150,000 people there … can’t say I noticed all the people as we were in our own little bubble enjoying the atmosphere, music and gourmet delights we’d taken along in our picnic hamper (along with a delightful bottle each of red and white wines to wash it all down with!).  Following are a couple of photos from the night:

I thought some of you in the Northern Hemisphere might enjoy this one … Santa comes to visit in all his glory in the middle of summer for us – while you’re sat huddled in your jumpers (aka jerseys, sweaters, pullovers), we’re down here in our singlet tops and shorts, but still following traditions with the Santa hats and trees etc 🙂

Carols in the Park crowd 1

Crowds starting to fill up in front of Auckland’s Museum – the concert is held in the Auckland Domain, a large parkland which is usually just used for recreation and sporting activities (especially cricket)

Carols in the Park crowd 2

And here’s the stage itself as people are starting to fill up the spaces

Carols in the Park crowd 3

Lucky last, here is the Christmas tree once the lights have been switched on, and the evening finale of fireworks (which were disappointing compared to previous years, but still awesome to see – and guaranteed to bring the childlike glee from the depths of my soul).

Carols in the Park Xmas tree lights

Carols in the Park Fireworks

We didn’t get home until just before midnight, and had an early start the next morning, as Mum and I hijacked the car for 3 days and drove to Napier/Hastings for a mini-break … which was absolutely awesome!! That will be the topic of the next couple of posts 🙂