Castlemaine, Australia

Andrew and I took a holiday for nearly three weeks in Australia, spending some time in five areas of the continent to get a quick sampling of the nation. Those 19 days were interesting and wonderfully enjoyable. Each place was different, but the people everywhere were great.

Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia hosts

Our Casltemaine friends and hosts, John and Hans

After landing in Melbourne, we drove a couple hours to Castlemaine, where  Continue reading

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New Zealand Earthquakes – We’re Fine

In case you’ve been reading about the many earthquakes here in New Zealand, this is just a note that we’re okay. We live at the northern end of the North Island, and Wellington is at the south end. And Andrew’s sister Miriam, still in Wellington after his parents moved to Singapore this past April, is fine, as well.

All’s well, as far as we know, but the earthquakes continue. Fortunately, the earthquakes Continue reading

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Worst Drought in New Zealand History

New Zealand is experiencing very dry weather this summer, and the North Island has been enduring the worst drought in the 71-year history of such records.  This summer, there has been persistent high pressure over New Zealand and in the Tasman Sea west of New Zealand.  The high pressure pushes the moisture-containing low pressures away from New Zealand’s North Island (and the northern part of South Island).

Green hill before the 2013 New Zealand drought

Hills this spring, before the long, dry New Zealand summer

Last year, everything was green all summer long, and I thought Continue reading

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Monarch Butterflies on Our Swan Plant (Milkweed)

Monarch Butterfly Female

Female Monarch Butterfly, freshly hatched

This year, our swan plants have grown, and they were very attractive to the monarch butterflies which pass through our yard, so much so that the monarch larvae (caterpillars) devastated our two swan plants. It was fascinating watching their life cycle.

Swan plants are a type of milkweed, and milkweed is the favourite (some say, only) food source for the monarch butterfly caterpillars. There are very few other plants that can Continue reading

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2013 Auckland Gay Pride Parade

Auckland New Zealand's Gay Pride Parade, February 16, 2013

Auckland's Gay Pride Parade Begins (Click to enlarge)

We made a day out of our trip to Auckland on 16 February 2103, but the main reason we drove the hour and a half to the city was for the first gay pride parade in a dozen years.  And it was well worth the trip.  It was fun and colourful and sexy.

Balloons at Auckland's Gay Pride Parade

Baloons Galore

There were all the things one might expect from a gay Continue reading

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Napier and Greater Hawkes Bay

We spent three days in Napier area, visiting various towns and spots, and enjoying several activities, including a few Grab One things.  We found some fun things to do and some wonderful places to enjoy the views.

Andrew J. Wharton tasting wines at Hawkes Ridge Winery

Hawke's Ridge Winery (click to enlarge)

Our first stop was Hawke’s Ridge Winery in Hastings, where we sampled some wines before choosing one glass each to Continue reading

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How We Keep the Wild Birds From Eating Our Chook Food

Chook house, Chicken House in New Zealand

Our chooks in their house

We bought two chooks (chickens) a couple months ago.  I was surprised that less than a week after bringing them home, our two Brown Shavers (very similar to Rhode Island Reds) began laying eggs, and they’ve been amazingly regular, giving us one egg each every single day since they began, missing not even one day.

All was fine until a couple weeks ago when the wild birds Continue reading

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Boating at Coromandel Town, New Zealand

A few months ago, we sold our sailboat since we couldn’t use it much, and bought ourselves an inflatable boat with electric motor.  We’ve taken our boat out a few times at our own beach.  Since we were up at Coromandel Town (about an hour north of home) when we went to The Waterworks, we decided to go boating in the harbour there, as well.

The problem with the sailboat is that I get seasick.  When the water was calm enough for me to be out on it, the winds were pretty much non-existent.  When there was enough wind to make sailing fun, the swells were too much for my stomach.  So, a motorised boat seemed to be the answer.

Groupy Inflatable Boat with Electric Motor

Our new inflatable boat

We bought our new inflatable boat from
one Continue reading

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The Waterworks in Coromandel Town, New Zealand

 

Coromandel's Waterworks

The Waterworks

One place that we’ve been wanting to visit since we arrived here in Thames one and a half years ago is The Waterworks.  This is like nothing else I’ve ever seen or even heard about. This is not your usual water park where you float along a river or shoot down slides.  The Waterworks is a place with many innovative (Kiwi ingenuity) contraptions for water fun.

One Exhibit at Theh Waterworks in Coromandel Town, New Zealand

Pumps and Hoses

There are many Continue reading

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Wanaka Puzzling World and Wanaka Beer Works

We stayed the last day of our South Island holiday in Wanaka, north of Queenstown, at the Wanaka Bakpaka.  After checking in, we drove out of town a ways to the Wanaka Beer Works, and the following morning, before flying back home, we played a bit in Puzzling World.  We also played a round of mini golf at Pembroke Putt.

Puzzling World in Wanaka, New Zealand

Andrew puzzling at Puzzling World

The biggest reason we wanted to visit Wanaka during this trip is Puzzling World, a place of great fun Continue reading

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