Friday, 6 January 2017

Piha, Lion Rock, and hot iron sand

So much for keeping this blog up to date. Never mind. I'll just post things when I get around to it :) They just might not be in the order we did them. But you'll still get to see some of the loveliness of New Zealand. We took a trip out to Piha - it isn't really that far, it just feels like it because the road is so windy.

When you finally get through the Waitakere ranges you come around the corner and all the glory of Piha is laid out in front of you. We couldn't stop to take a good photo as the parking bays were all full (and you really can't stop anywhere else as the road is so narrow), so I had to get a shot on the move, so it's not the best, but it still works.

Lion Rock is that big rock in the middle of the beach. You are allowed to climb about 2/3rds of the way up and then there is a gate/fence stopping you from going any further (supposedly, we saw a few people go around it).

So we had our lunch sitting in the shade of the rock, and then climbed it.

See our tiny car down there? And all the little ant people :)

Then we came down again.

After coming down we played in the surf for a while. We didn't go too far out, partly because we didn't have our togs, and partly because the currents and rips at Piha can be dangerous and we weren't in one of the two lifeguard patrolled areas.

The patterns the iron in the sand made when the waves washed over it were pretty cool.

If I remember what they told us when we moved here the year 8's get to learn surf safety in their swimming lessons during the first term. DS missed it last year due to our late start at that school, but DD will get it this year. With so many beaches around I think that is a good idea.

Monday, 9 May 2016

One Tree Hill

We had a great time at One Tree Hill on ANZAC day (a public holiday here in NZ and in Australia), there was a bit of a chill in the wind, but it was still a beautiful day. We spent most of the afternoon down at the foot of the hill near the Greenlane Road entrance to Cornwall Park with friends celebrating a birthday. Later on as the sun was setting we went up to the top and saw the spire close up (and the hole that was the tree once upon a time), and then down into the crater where the kids played with the rock words.

The earthen ledges that you can see in some of the photos are the remains of the Maori Pa that used to be on the hill.

They have sheep and cows on the hill - so the city folk know what the rest of the country is like :p

See Rangitoto in the background - it shows up a lot of places

You can see the Sky Tower and downtown to the left of the background, and North Head (where we were last week) is at the base of Rangitoto on the right

Facing the airport - the small white blob in the center is a plane coming in to land.

The crater is just to the right of this photo - I couldn't get a good photo of the crater from above as that was the direction the sun was setting.

The crater, where people write messages with the volcanic rocks left behind

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Volcano hunting

We have decided to visit all 53 volcanoes in Auckland. Actually I suppose that should be all 53 known-so-far volcanoes. So last week we met up with some old and good friends and found the first four (Lake Pupuke, North Head, Mt Victoria, and Mt Cambria).

(all the black crosses are the volcanoes yet to go, the pins are the ones we've done - might have to make little flags that give the name (so we can identify what we've done) and don't have such a fat top so it's easier to get close ones in)

(Here's a link to the list we are using in case you are interested -

We started just around the corner from home at Lake Pupuke. It was very peaceful and had lots of Tuis, but they wouldn't sit still for a photograph, so you don't get to see those. So we wandered around, read about the two craters joining to make the lake (we visited Sylvan Park which is on the point between the two craters), and then decided that low tide was about 20 minutes away, so if we went around to Takapuna Beach now we could see if we could identify the remains of the Kauri forest. Turns out that wasn't difficult, and it was actually really cool. So we spent quite a while clambering over the rocks seeing how the trees had left behind all these rock pools.

(see - no Tuis to photograph)

We didn't really think much of the 'specially preserved with metal grate over the top' mould - it looked more like a rubbish dump. Although it was quite large.

Then we headed down to North Head where we had lunch and the kids climbed on the guns, and slid down the hill on pieces of cardboard. We also fed the birds and went through the tunnels and cave system, even played on the piano that is in one lookout point.

Lake Pupuke and Takapuna Beach are up that way further.

This is where some went down and some went up.

Looking over to Mt Victoria.

Mt Victoria came next, not quite as much climbing to be had, but still fun.

Looking back to North Head - we were just there!!

The gun at the summit.

View of the Harbour Bridge and out to the west.

There were tunnels here too, but they were gated up so we couldn't go down them.

The gun from below.

Mt Cambria is down there, with Rangitoto in the background.

Lastly we found Cambria Reserve - none of us had heard of it before so it was new to all of us.

Looking back up to Mt Victoria.

After that we decided we needed ice-cream as a reward for all our hard work :) (we didn't get the 8 scoop one, we only had 2 scoops each).

Next up tomorrow is One Tree Hill - or rather No Tree Hill, since the tree got chopped down by a protesting Maori, and has never been replaced.

You can just see it with the spire on the top to the very left of this photo - to the right is Mt Eden (cos it's the tallest), and I think inbetween is Mt Hobson and Mt Saint Johns.

Our final volcano is going to be Rangitoto - pictured here from North Head - also pictured is Browns Island, another volcano on the list.