Goatman tramp-about


Book Reviewer
Well, it had to happen.

In NZ visiting the No1 apprentice. Here till the All Blacks play Pumas, for which we have tickets. Sadly, time does not permit a visit to South Island but plenty see up here in the far from frozen Northland.

Backpackers and motels, Tui and pukeko to gawp at not to say parrots in the park in Auckland...thoroughly enjoying myself so far :)

Off to do the movie set visit tomorrow - let's hope its up to scratch or No2 Apprentice may demand her entry fee back !

Lee Shaver :relax:


Book Reviewer
Day....uh...hang on..

Ah, Wellywood.....an interesting fact about the filmset where they shot all three Hobbit fillums - we reckoned each tour group that goes round generates ,oh,say NZ$3,000.

They need a gardener - I may sign up :)

Cape Reinga was for me a bit more of a jaw drop but hey, sauces for horses.

Scooting about North Island courtesy of Ace Rentals and a Nissan that has done 200Km - Avis it ain't :)

Le Chevre
Cape Reinga was a very nice place to visit, even though we got hit with a massive storm as we strolled down to the lighthouse. The drive up there from Auckland was a good laugh too!
Get into Russell and enjoy the Bay of Islands. There's some decent ' fush & chup' restaurants.


Book Reviewer
Get into Russell and enjoy the Bay of Islands. There's some decent ' fush & chup' restaurants.
Been there done that, admired the boat-handling skills of Bronwyn who neatly threaded a 60 foot twin hulled launch BACKWARDS into the Hole in The Rock.... wimmin drivers :worship: - it would've given some of the skippers I've been away with pause for thought!

Today's feast for the senses was the cable car to the Observatory overlooking Wellington - where we found this:

According to the plaque, 135mm calibre rifled barrel ,manufactd by Messrs Krupp in Essen around 1907 and at one time the property of a Prussian Artillery Regt until the New Zealand Division..ah..relieved them of their onerous burden draggin' the bugger about in Sept 1918 ( I imagine during the counter-offensive to the Spring push).

I got dragged away before I could find out anymore :)

- and the fush and chups at Shippey's in Paihia were grand but the price of a pint of Carlsberg was a bit eye-watering so I'll stick to Tui....

Last night it was a wood fired pizza in Cuba Street which rated a 7 on the No2 Apprentice's finely calibrated pizza scale ( this is as measured against a place called Starita in Naples). Back on the issue rice and beans tonight :)
Last night it was a wood fired pizza in Cuba Street which rated a 7 on the No2 Apprentice's finely calibrated pizza scale ( this is as measured against a place called Starita in Naples). Back on the issue rice and beans tonight :)[/QUOTE]

Starita is ok, but if you want truly great pizza in Bella Napoli then go to Piscea in Pozzouli. Delish!

Nice pics btw.......


Book Reviewer
Day...yeah: left Wellington and headed up the West side. Quick sprint to Tongariro National Park, with Mt Doom and the still grumbling volcanic Ruapehu in the dustance...think the biggest grousemoor you've ever seen with well used pathways. Sadly, we could not do the famed Tongariro Crossing 'cos we didn't have crampons or ice-axes.

Then over to Rotarua where we did the Maori arts and Crafts visit at Te Puia (got roped in , as the only gwailo in a bunch of Japanese and Korean visitors,to take part in the haka - which was....weird :)...coming to a Youtube screen near you soon....arrgghh]

We stayed in the poorly named Grand Hotel which I can warmly recommend you avoid,...locals call the town 'Roto-Vegas' on account of the garish neon and strip malls , all overlaid with the smell of rotten eggs from the thermal pools locally.

Then a short hop to Tauranga , for a truly beautiful beach sunset .... must be one of the few places in the South Pacific where you can get liver and bacon and a pint of Guinness for under 25 bucks :-D
The Crown and Badger Pub in Tauranga | The Crown and Badger

Off up to the Coromandel peninsula for a swift shufti and back to Hamilton in time for the All Blacks game against Argentina....hee, On,on!


Book Reviewer
Oh well, all good things come to an end...we flew back to rainy Heathrow yesterday via San Francisco, which has a shiny airport and blue California sky ( about as much of the city as I saw).

The Coromandel Peninsual is beautiful, from the bit we saw which was Hot Water Beach ( think Caswell in the Gower but with thermal spring water seeping out of the fine sand on the tideline !) and the much visited but still stunning Cathedral Cove.

Here's one Meridian took:

The All Blacks game in Hamilton was interesting as the national heroes duly put away a surprisingly crisp and unintimidated Los Pumas side....a decent opening try from Argentina and a good effort from All Blacks (five eighths? WTF?) Dan Carter in riposte.... overall a scrappy game played in some fine all night NZ drizzle....local press had a fair grumble about All Blacks lack of ooomph in the scrum and less than magical ball handling out of it....lots of airborne Steinlager bottles during the Mexican wave which rippled round the stadium. Hamilton's Waikato stadium is not a big venue, crowd was about 23,000 I think.

Don't know if the Pumas are set to play England anytime soon - but on this showing it will be an interesting game. Sadly no Wales tour of NZ tour due to my knowledge, 'cos I would be saving my pennies for that.

Our journey home started at the very excellent Red Cherry Cafe between Cambridge and Hamilton with one of the best breakfasts I've had in a possum's age....say hello to the lovely Ali who took our order and go for the Diederich's full breakfast, which is worth every buck.

Incidentally, brush-tailed possums ,introduced from Oz in the 1900's by some myopic Colonial do-gooder are a bloody nuisance in NZ - and the govt will pat you on the back for shooting the lil buggers. Thriving fur trade can't keep pace with the leaf munching menaces....

The No2 Apprentice, who had spent two months with her face buried in Lonely Planet guide (and known to her Irish travel buddy as ' the holiday Hitler' ) made sure we squeezed in a last minute visit, this time to the Auckland Botanical gardens....for the green fingered by 'eck they grow FOB lilacs Down Under :). That said, we were much more impressed with the Hamilton Gardens which are well worth a visit.

The Nissan Sunny (aka 'Jim' ) trundled back to Ace Rentals who were excellent , with another 4,000 kms on its clock whch isnae too dusty for an 18 day visit.

I now get to scheme and plot and plan and scrimp and save to finance another visit, this time to get my raggedy ass down to South Island , which we just didn't have the time for on this trup.

all up, a stunning country full of charming decent folk,

Haere Ra Aotearoa,

till next time ,

(just another Pakeha )

PS...in Arnie's immortal words:

' I'll be BACK ! '
Yeah, but which way did the water go down the plug hole?


Book Reviewer
benjamin1 - sweet as Bro! Love to say ' my trip was taken courtesy of Whinwhistle Tours Inc' but sadly it wasn't....now potless.

Jockgit - I remember thinking about this thorny issue whilst stood in the very acceptable kitchen of the BackPackers in Tauronga, doing the pan bashing - but I can't honestly remember :) Flying Eastabout scrambles the head even more than the LDN-DUBAI-PERTH route!
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