Joined March 2018Living in: Kaunakakai, United States
  • Day16

    Auckland Airport NZ

    March 13, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 23 °C

    I went by Intercity bus from Cambridge to Auckland. The seats downstairs are really comfy, but still folks put their feet on them. Those are Golden State Warriors scuffs, so I had to take a photo of them!

    Cambridge is near Hamilton, which is practically a dormitory suburb of Auckland these days because of the motorway that links the two. It's not a particularly scenic trip, though south of the Bombay Hills, it runs alongside the mighty Waikato River for part of the way.

    When I checked in at Auckland International Airport they confiscated some novelty lighters I'd bought for friends back on Moloka'i, and also the jar of precious, lovely Vegemite I was bringing back for my morning toast! Greedy me bought a too-big sized jar and, even though I offered to eat half of it out of the jar then and there to get it down to the permissible amount, it was confiscated. Shoulda bought some NZ honey at the overpriced airport store instead!
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  • Day15

    Stratford to Cambridge on SH3

    March 12, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 19 °C

    Once it gets past the Motonui power station north of New Plymouth, SH3 in North Taranaki is extremely scenic--following the Awakino River gorge, climbing up Mt. Messenger and through the tunnel at the top, and following the coast.

    The rivermouths on this coast, and on the West Coast of the South Island, are famous for their whitebait--an expensive delicacy that was for sale in the travelling fish van we went to in Cambridge to get dinner ingredients.Read more

  • Day14


    March 11, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 21 °C

    This city on a mighty river--the Whanganui, which rises in the Volcanic Plateau in the middle of the North Island--recently won an award for the way its main shopping area has been transformed.

    On my way back to Stratford, I stayed in the Grand Hotel, which was THE place to stay back in the day--my aunt was the receptionist there for many years in its heyday. It's still a nice place to stay, just one block away from the main street. It has a funky little cafe with a surfing theme--the beach is not far from city centre.

    Once a year, the city hosts a motorcycle race that features several laps around the inner city cemetery, hence the name of this business opposite the Intercity bus depot.
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  • Day13


    March 10, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌧 4 °C

    On the return trip the next day, we stopped off in Foxton, which used to have a thriving flax industry--my maternal grandmother's dad worked as an engineer in one of the flax mills. Unfortunately, the flax museum was closed at the time we visited.

    The area was settled mainly by people from the Netherlands, hence the windmill and the Dutch museum and art gallery.

    There is also an excellent little Maori museum/craft workshop
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  • Day12

    Road trip from Stratford to Maungaraki

    March 9, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌧 15 °C

    South of Stratford is the town of Patea, which has a monument to the Polynesians who arrived by ocean-going canoe (waka) and originally settled the area. The monument was famously used in the music video for a No. 1 hit of the '80s, Poi E.

    Two different kinds of waka--a topdressing plane, which landed in a paddock next to the road just as we were driving by, and a restored American car that pulled in next to us at a petrol station.

    Nearing Wellington, we took the inland route around Pukerua Bay to get to Lower Hutt. The last photo is a view of Wellington Harbour from Maungaraki, a suburb in the hills above Petone at the head of the harbour.
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  • Day11

    New Plymouth

    March 8, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌧 17 °C

    The largest town in Taranaki, New Plymouth, is a popular destination from Stratford in the summer because it has a beach, near the port. Ngamotu Beach--like all those around Taranaki--is a black sand beach. Nga motu means "the islands" in Maori and there are several islands just offshore, formed by the same volcanic activity that formed Mt. Taranaki. For many years, oil was pumped from beneath the beach.

    Puke Ariki is a state-of-the-art museum of natural history and the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, with its recently acquired reflective skin, has an eclectic collection of contemporary NZ art. The plants growing round the tree outside the gallery are their own art!

    New Plymouth also had a power station that used natural gas and fuel oil to generate electricity. The chimney stack and buildings are still there, but it is no longer in operation.
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  • Day10

    Taranaki Pioneer Village

    March 7, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    The Taranaki Pioneer Village just south of Stratford has a plethora of old buildings filled with items from pioneer days. A little train takes you around the perimeter of it, setting out from outside a train station that was relocated from the coastal community of Opunake--a popular destination in summer because of its beach.

    In one of the homes is a kauri bathtub.
    The cafe at the Village has beautiful stained glass windows showing Mt. Taranaki and the Village. The food is excellent, as is the coffee.
    The utility box painted to remember Parihaka--where a peaceful resistance to oppose colonial settlement took place--isn't at the Village, but on the street in Stratford itself.
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  • Day8

    Trucker and tucker

    March 5, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    In New Zealand, a packet of 20 cigarettes costs $30, and the tax on them goes up each year in an effort to curb the effects of nicotine addiction. Ironically, in New Plymouth, a converted ambulance provides a mobile service for people who vape instead.

    The rest of the photos show some tucker (food):
    chocolate fish, which are marshmallow inside,
    cream-filled donut,
    lolly cake (or No Bake Cake), which is made from crushed malt biscuits with hard marshmallows scattered through it and rolled in shredded coconut.
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  • Day7

    Stratford Library

    March 4, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    The Stratford library is now in a purpose-built, modern building in Prospero Place, with a bust of Shakespeare outside, but when I was a child and teenager growing up, it was in an imposing two-storied building on the town's main street. It was upstairs, where the council chambers also were housed.

    To get to the stairway, you first had to walk through the Hall of Remembrance which is the only war memorial of its kind in New Zealand. It features photographs of all the people from the Stratford district who lost their lives during the two World Wars. (It may even feature more modern wars these days, but I didn't check whether that was so.)

    The tile pattern on those stairs was very familiar to me as I went there so often, and even sometimes sat on the stairs to read a book I couldn't wait to get started on!
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  • Day6

    Stratford and the Mountain House

    March 3, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌙 9 °C

    From the verandah of the home where I was staying, I could see Mt. Ruapehu way in the distance as the sun rose n the east behind it.

    The morning sun also makes Mt. Taranaki look even more special.

    Within the National Park, the Stratford Mountain House, which has accommodation and a restaurant is managed by a Maori tribal trust. I went there for lunch with a family member and chose the mussels, which are likely sourced from Egmont Fisheries in New Plymouth.

    Stratford, unsurprisingly, is very Shakespeare-focused. All the streets are named after characters in his plays, and even the surveillance camera warning notices around the town center are Bard-themed. (Coulda done with a copy editor's touch, but let's not make much ado about nothing!)
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