Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Feeling Grateful

I've been wanting to see a kingfisher for a long time.  I used to care for kookaburras when I worked at the zoo, and they won me over- very cool birds. 

Yesterday when I was on the phone with a friend I looked out the window and saw a kingfisher sitting on our porch railing.  Such a stunning turquoise color!  I think P and I are lucky, lucky girls that we got to see one so close, if only for a few seconds. 

Hope you all have a festive and happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Did I mention we had a really fun time?

Thanks for all the laughs!

You make a very spooky curtain ghost, AM.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Gisborne and the trip home through the Waioeka gorge.

My camera battery gave out in Gisborne.
This is the ONLY picture I took there.
Thank goodness it is such a good one!

I managed to coax a few more pictures out of my battery in the gorge.

Friday, November 20, 2009


If you've not seen Whale Rider, go see it now (and fall for Cliff Curtis). Then read the book. Then read all of Witi Ihimaera's other books, and fall for Witi Ihimaera.

These pictures will mean a lot more to you.

Ok, these little beached whale props are really cute.
I love the one struggling up the hill.

Oh look, the waka (prop) and the whale island in the background (real) that the story is based on!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tolaga Bay

Tolaga Bay has the longest wharf in the southern hemisphere at 660 meters.
It is currently being repaired so you can only walk out about 400 meters.
At the 400 meter mark there is a buoy tied to the wharf
and if you are lucky you can use that buoy to play with a dolphin that hangs out there.

We had tea at the cafe at the Tolaga Inn. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Toward Gisborne

We saw this on our way back to town after greeting the sun.
Two of my favorite things: cows and wakas.

The Waipu Anglican church is said to have gorgeous carvings and marvelous stained glass windows.
It was locked, so I'll have to call again, on a Sunday next time.
This is the cross that is on the back side of the entrace gate to the church grounds.

Waipu Co-op has seen better days.
No wonder the church is locked, eh?

In Ruatoria we stopped for groceries and and breakfast.
I was excited to buy a local pie, but sadly could only give this a 4 out of 10 on the steak and cheese pie scale.
Perhaps I should have tried mince.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ata marie!

On the ninth of October I wrote:
"Tux, the camp dog, was sad to be left behind when we left camp at 0545 to be the first to greet the sun today."

5:45 is a dark time of morning.

We didn't greet the sun from the lighthouse, but on the coast outside of Rangitukia.

The east cape has an amazing amount of driftwood.
Where does it all come from?

Looking back toward Mount Hikurangi

It was worth getting up at 0515 to see this sunrise, and to be among the first to greet the day.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Mystery Sticks

These things, which seem to be the marine equivalent of a scare crow, line the gravel road to the lighthouse.

They reminded me a little of the Blair Witch.

We took a lot of pictures of them.
I didn't dare get so close.
Thankfully, she didn't get eaten.

What are they?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The East Cape Lighthouse

We made it!

This is the view from the lighthouse toward Gisborne.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Te Araroa to the Lighthouse

This is leaving Te Araroa heading toward the east cape lighthouse.

Somehow in Te Araroa we missed seeing the largest Pohutukawa tree.
We found out later it is in the school yard.

This pohutukawa tree had several black and white shags (cormorants) nesting in it.
They are big birds and look an awful lot like penguins.

The guidebooks all give instructions for finding the path leading to the lighthouse like this,
"at the end of the road turn around and go back 500 meters. you will find the path behind the derelict huts."
The guidebooks were right.

So we donned our hats and off we went.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Waihau Bay and Lottin Point

Our goal was to stay the night in Te Araroa so that we could wake at 4:15am (really!) and make the trek out to the lighthouse so that we could be the first people on the entire planet to greet the sun, but we realized if we drove any further we would run out of gas. There are not a lot of petrol stations on the east cape. Learn from our mistake. That is if you can call staying at this place in Waihau a mistake:

At least we got to see this sunset!

The next day we spent quite a bit of time exploring Lottin Point.
We were hoping to see Dolphins and Whales.
We didn't see any but weren't really disappointed.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Many of the carvings paid tribute to the men who fought and died in the first world war.

This is Raukokore marae.

This is another 180 picture.

Once you go around the bend in the road above you see this:

The "immaculately maintained beacon of belief" Anglican Church.

And the attached cemetery.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Whanarua Bay

This is the marae entrance* at Whanarua Bay.

After taking this picture I turned 180 degrees and took the following picture:

I don't think I have mentioned this yet, but the East Cape is unimaginably beautiful.

*For the record, no maraes were entered on our journey, but all 753 that were visible from the road were admired and many were photographed.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Ohiwa beach, Torere school

This is Ohiwa beach. That's Moutohora in the background.

This is the entrance gate at Torere primary school. Its got kind of an enter at your own risk feel to it.

The coolest part is that the whole thing appears to be carved out of one huge tree
(except for the tippytop portion).

I love that these guys actually curve down over you as you walk under.