It's not long now until we will be experiencing a proper upside-down Kiwi Christmas now we have arrived in New Zealand, which will be our home for the next few weeks, before we set off after the new year to visit friends in other parts of this marvellous country.
I did our last post on my little tablet and couldn't get all the Aussie pix I wanted on, so here are a few more.
|Pat enjoys a paddle on Nobby's beach on the Gold Coast|
|Feeding the pelicans on the beach draws big crowds|
|Pat tries out Stu's pool|
It will certainly be different to our traditional Christmas in the northern hemisphere, influenced, of course, by the temperature. It's the beginning of summer here, and although Christmas trees, santa hats and carols are very much in evidence, Santa is as likely to arrive carrying a surfboard with sunglasses on than on a sleigh pulled by reindeer, though I must say I noticed a number of cars with reindeer ears poking out on either side of their front windows while we were on the Gold Coast in Australia and a lot of the TV adverts feature snow falling in the background as they announce the huge savings they can offer, if you buy before Christmas.
And when I say upside down that goes for the Christmas colours too. The traditional green, red and white which we associate with the tree, Santa and snow are transposed here to the green of the grass, the red of the blooms on the Pohutukawa tree, which Kiwis call their “Christmas Tree” and the white of their sandy beaches.
As we said in our last blog, written in the north of Tasmania, we were a bit underwhelmed with the island. I had spoken to a lot of people who had visited and really raved about its beauty, and there is no denying it is an attractive, lush island. Their annual rainfall and temperate climate see to that. But to call it “A World Apart”, is a bit of an exaggeration. It has some great beaches, but so do a lot of countries, and the terrain around Cradle Mountain, is very picturesque, but so is North Wales. Pat reckons we are now “over travelled”, and destinations we used to embrace have lost their “wow” factor for us. I am not sure that is completely true, but I was not unduly unhappy when we hopped on the plane for Sydney and then on to Auckland.
|Our Tassy transport|
|Our base in Hobart|
|The only Tasmanian Devil we came across was at the Cascade Brewery|
|View looking towards The Bay Of Fires|
|The excellent bottle-conditioned Kentish Ale at "Seven Sheds"|
Auckland is a city we have driven through a couple of times, from the airport, but never stopped to investigate so we decided to have a long weekend there, and I am glad we did, though our accommodation was not that great.
Apart from our first day, the weather was warm and sunny, and we took in as much of the city on foot as possible. Erica had recommended some nice beaches and on Sunday we caught a ferry over to Waiheke and had a lovely time exploring on the islands buses.
|Auckland's downtown area from the harbour front|
|Onegeri beach on Waiheke|
Now we are at Erica and James place on the outskirts of Wellington. They live in a new town house, that literally backs on to a park. The local professional cricket team, the Wellington Firebirds, have moved in, following a fire at their base in the city, so all week there has been the clatter of leather on willow and cries of “Owzat” reverberating around the park, which lies in a natural bowl, with steep hills on three sides and dense woodland behind us. It’s a very pleasant spot.It’s early summer here and the weather has been quite hot for Wellington, but today (Friday), the winds that the city is famous far, have returned, and the clouds are scudding across the sky. We are baby sitting our nine-month granddaughter today and she is being as good as gold.
|Livi helps her Grandpop to celebrate his birthday this week|