Sunday, November 28, 2010

House warming and Thanksgiving

This weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving by having a housewarming. The house isn't finished - but it will probably be another 6 months before it is completely done and after a successful Thanksgiving last year I braved cooking another turkey (although it isn't the easiest thing to get hold of in New Zealand at this time of year). So we had turkey and stuffing, but it is the middle of summer so we mixed it with a range of salads. For desert we had traditional pumpkin and pecan pie and of course pavlova!! A real mix of American and New Zealand cultures.

The star of the day

The weather was perfect to show off the house. It was the perfect day, sunny, warm, with a very light breeze. We completely opened up the house and set up the hammock out the back so that the kids could play. Aaron also very graciously allowed them to play with his lego... but he is now rather traumatised as they mixed arctic lego with space lego - outrageous!

Aaron and Mifi testing the hammock

It was a great day with far too much food..... in the true spirit of Thanksgiving. Thank you everyone who came to share it with us.

The day after we even managed to get out for a bike ride to help burn off all the yummy food.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lake Waikaremoana Great Walk

After a hectic few weeks of work and lots still to do around the house, I needed to get away and have a break. So I took a long weekend tramping with a friend, Kareen. It is early tramping season, so it was nice and quiet on the track with only a few other New Zealander's and very few tourists. Although I don't think that Lake Waikaremoana is on the main tourist route anyway.

The track goes 2/3 of the way round Lake Waikaremoana, so you need to take a water taxi to the start and back from the finish. We went around the lake clockwise, so you start the tramp by going up the spectacular Panekire Bluff. The weather was great so we had amazing views out across the lake from the bluff. The forest along the tops is quite spectacular - Lord of the rings/ "Goblinesque". The first hut is on the top of the bluff.

The water taxi dropping us off

Kareen and Helen at the start of the track

Views over the lake from Panekire Bluff

Helen standing on one of the sandstone outcrops along the top of the bluff

Goblineque forest - with the infamous orange triangles that mark the track

Panekire Hut along the top of the bluff

The second day you head down off the bluff and spend the rest of the walk around the Lake, with a few ups and downs over peninsulars. The vegetation is very different lower down around the lake and unfortunately a few too many feral pigs have also been making a bit of a mess by digging up the sides of the track.

Evidence of pigs digging up either side of the track looking for tubers

It was also relatively warm so we took the opportunity at lunchtime to go for a dip in the pool by the Korokoro waterfall - very refreshing. We also had a very quick dip to rinse off our hot and sweaty bodies when we got to Maruiti Hut at the end of the second day after about 7 hours of walking.

Korokoro Falls

Maruiti Hut

Lots of tree ferns in some of the gulley's

Day three was a lot cooler and it was misting with rain all day. This significantly reduced the views back across the lake to the bluffs. However, it was great for walking in and nice to not get hot and sweaty knowing we had a long drive back to Wellington. It also gave the Lake, peninsulars and islands a very mysterious look.

Rain and cloud hiding the bluffs

We had a very early start - leaving the hut just after 7am and we reached the pick up for the water taxi at 12pm, after 4 1/2 hours of walking a couple of stops.

The water taxi pick up point at the end of the track

It was a great weekend and despite the tramping and now feeling a little stiff and sore I mentally feel a lot better after getting out of Wellington and having a break from everything. The first tramp of the summer - hope to get a few more tramping adventures in over the next few months.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

New fence and more work in the garden

Low end of the fence

Straight opposite the deck

The top of the backyard with the old tree reduced to a bushy stump

We are having our house warming in a couple weeks. We thought it would be a good idea to print out a few pictures of what the place looked like before we started. I found the picture below which I took from the top of the fence by the corner of the garage. I went out and tried to take one identical just now to compare, which is the one below.

September 2007

November 2010

The garden is growing