Serenity in the Begonia House

There’s nothing like spending a few hours in Wellington’s Botanic Gardens to lift the mood and bring out a smile.  It’s a peaceful,  colourful place and the Begonia hothouse is a particular favourite spot of mine.  In winter it’s a warm place to go with the camera and in summer the flowers seem particularly happy to be photographed.

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Road trip – Tolaga Bay horse races

To mark the start of a New Year, the locals of the East Cape bring  their horses to a beach near Tolaga Bay to have some fun.  These horses are usually used to round up cattle and slog through the hill farms but many have good breeding and can pick up some speed on the beach.  There’s a great mix of pintos, palaminos, thoroughbreds and many with no claim to any particular breed or lineage.  The riders are all ages – this year, once again 80 year old Whaea (Aunty) Dinah took part.  She and her palamino competed in three races and while they didn’t win, she didn’t come last either.

The day out include a section for adults and children to test their sprint skills.

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Road trip – Tolaga Bay

Tolaga Bay, north of Gisborne is a lovely spot, known in New Zealand for it’s historic wharf which was built by local farmers needing to get their sheep and cattle to market.  The wharf is now a tourist attraction and children love to jump off the edge into the deep water below.  They seem not to worry about the stingrays that often hang out there.

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Road trip – Gisborne area

The beaches of Gisborne are known around their world for their beauty, surf and long stretches of isolated sand.

I hung out at Tatapouri and collected these, which show no sand, no sun, no surf but some of the other scenery found at low tide on the rocky shore of Tatapouri and the nearby marine reserve.

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Road trip – Hawkes Bay hills

The hills around Havelock North dry off in summer – creating shades of bleached brown and gold mottled with dark patches of shade and trees.  An evening’s drive provided me these shots from Maraetoa Rd.

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Road trip – Hawkes Bay, Hastings farmers market

Hawkes Bay is a great place to eat and drink.  It’s wine country.  The area is also the fruit bowl for much of New Zealand and the locals are great at turning all that bounty into tasty treats, which they show off and sell at the weekly farmers market. People can get carried away with all the produce, so the market provides wheelbarrows for them to take their goodies to their cars.

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Road trip – Hawkes Bay

Yay for the summer holidays. Time to pack up the caravan, polish the camera lenses and head out.  This trip was mostly a meandering between beaches – what else do you do when the sun is shining? Sadly the wind was always blowing off shore and little bit too cool for much swimming.  But the evenings and early mornings were often lovely.  The Hawkes Bay area is known for its wine, food, beaches, and hillside scenery.

The dawn light at Waipatiki beach really made the scenery sing.

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