Initially my thoughts turned to
Africa for this challenge.
However, a little more thought and
New Zealand it is.
New Zealand is sometimes referred to
as Australia’s seventh state;
and I must confess it is a
home away from home in my opinion.
Now for some random images from our
2018 road trip around a small part
of New Zealand’s North Island.
Near Matamata we spent a couple
of nights at Buckland’s Airbnb.
This window view, from our room,
was enough to keep me happy.
If the view appears too rural for your liking,
there is always accommodation in Matamata itself.
We were there to visit the Hobbit Movie set
which is less than 5 kilometres from
The third of Waitomo’s Cave was Ruakuri Cave.
The only cave where photography
was freely allowed.
To reach the cave floor we had
to negotiate the spiral down.
And there was no magic way of getting
out of the cave without negotiating
the same spiral to ground level.
While in the Ruakuri Cave…
…there are plenty of sights…
…to view or photograph.
Several nights were spent in Taupo,
located on the north-eastern shore
of Lake Taupo.
About 15 minutes out of Taupo is Huka Falls.
Not big in either width or height,
however, big in water throughput.
Taupo also provided an extensive range…
…of flora to photograph during our visit.
Tongariro National Park
where I was able to capture this image of
At Rotorua we spent a night or two at
a Boutique Hotel out of Rotorua.
Using Hamurana Lodge as our base
we were able to visit
Whakarewarewa – Living Maori Village…
…and enjoy lunch cooked in a thermal spring
the traditional Maori way.
We arrived back in Auckland a few days prior
to No 1 Son’s wedding.
Number 2 Son and his wife had been sort
of shadowing us during our road trip.
As Daughter-in-Law celebrated her
birthday the day before we arrived
in Auckland we all met up for
a family celebration.
Dinner in Auckland’s Sky Tower.
New Zealand is a peaceful friendly country
with a wide variety of attractions.
AND it is roughly a two and a half hour
flight from Melbourne.
Compare that with a 14 hour journey
from Sydney to Johannesburg.
Some farewell entertainment at
Sausage Tree Safari Camp…
…near the end of our first
African Safari, 2013.
Dubai fire dancer.
Whakarewarewa Maori Village dancers,
agricultural, agrarian, outdoor, idyllic, unspoiled
I am not sure if Hamurana Lodge fits
the bucolic theme of today.
However it is location on the
outskirts of Rotorua is ideal.
If this scene is not bucolic,
then I am not sure what is.
…the girls in this African Dance Troupe
are clapping their hands.
Both the African and the
New Zealand entertainers had us…
…on our feet dancing along.
All entertainers were warmly applauded
at the conclusion of their performances.
A Leaning Tower at Pisa
Towering Redwoods in Rotorua
Light house towers.
I shall commence with an image
Part of the Californian Redwood Forest
on the outskirts of Rotorua
in New Zealand.
Bicycles in Lille sporting lots of red.
A specimen from the Dahlia Farm
near Geelong in 2018.
Before our visit to New Zealand last year
we booked all accommodation
Therefore it was a bit of a surprise to discover
we had booked a place so far out of Rotorua.
But what a wonderful entrance to
We were given a local welcome
shortly after entering the drive.
Just wish we had more time
at this beautiful accommodation.
We had probably the busiest year we will ever have in 2018.Late February we spent a weekend in Auckland
to celebrate the engagement of
our eldest son to his bride to be.
In June we were blessed with falling snow while
visiting the Columbia Icefield and Athabasca Glacier.
Most of us had not seen falling snow ever,
so a real delight.
A week or so later while cruising the Inside Passage
during our stop at Juneau we flew
onto the Mendenhall Glacier to visit the huskies
and have a rife in a sled.
We hardly seemed to be home
to be made for our road trip in New Zealand
prior to our son’s wedding.
A Māori Hāngī at the
Whakarewarewa Māori Village in Rotorua…
…and a visit to the Hobbit Movie Set at Matamata,
…were preludes to the big day.
The next morning back at
Auckland International Airport
for our flight home.
A great idea for the end of the year
and particularly one in which I thought
I had not been out (with camera) very much…
January began with a nice sunrise which
reflected on our sprinkler.
…one of my favourite photos for the year.
an engagement party for our eldest and his bride to be.
for sunrises and…
Late in March I joined liked minded people
to exhibit some of our work.
In my case photos.
A few day later in early April we celebrated
our 31st Wedding Anniversary
with a First Class (our own private cabin)
dinner on the Q-Train.
Trips for sunrises and sets…
Also due in part to the fact that
we were thinking of our trip to Canada in June.
falling snow for the first time.
A week later we were enjoying our Gold Leaf carriage
on the Rocky Mountaineer as it
carried us back to Vancouver.
to Alaskan waters and enjoyed our first pre-booked excursion.
A dog sled ride on the Mendenhall Glacier.
Margerie Glacier calving, several times,
was well worth the visit.
Home in July for a rare colourful sunrise.
By late August canola crops were beginning to flower.
in New Zealand had commenced.
Hobbiton movie set was another of our must sees prior to leaving.
Early in October we added
another daughter-in-law to our family.
Spring rains came and went leaving us fairly dry
at the beginning of December..
Happy New Year to all.