Archive for the ‘New Zealand’ Category

As you view Auckland from other various parts of the harbor (see previous posts re: New Zealand), you notice a towering, impressive building gracing its skyline. That’s the Sky City Sky Tower. A trip up the Sky Tower offers you 360 degree views of not only Auckland and its suburbs, but even farther views – on clear days.
I share with you now some of those views for you armchair travelers. The blue-tint of the photos comes from the tinted glass of the View Deck windows. You will also see that the day we were there wasn’t too clear a day. It had been misting on and off that day. Enjoy!

The Bay Bridge linking north and south sides of the harbor and cutting many miles of driving to get from one side to the other.

Looking past Devonport on to Rangitoto Island, remnants of a volcanic eruption 600 years ago witnessed by local Maoris. We’ve actually taken a ferry over, ridden in a guided tour-tram as well as trekked to the summit of the remaining volcanic cone. The landscape is amazing with its volcanic lava rock outcroppings and areas where you could see where the lava had flowed down into the sea.
Other various views of downtown Auckland as well as “the Burbs”:

If you follow the link above, you’ll be taken to the Sky Tower site with all the information on the Sky Tower itself. What always dumbfounds me is that people actually bungee jump off this blasted tower. During a previous visit to the Tower we were treated to the sudden appearance of a man in an orange jumpsuit dangling outside of the windows of the Observation Deck for just a moment before plummeting downward with the giant rubber band around his ankles. Craziness.

About the only thing we didn’t see from the Tower was the Travelocity Roaming Gnome…but then “The Amazing Race” people weren’t there that day. 😉

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I have had a really hard time deciding which photos to post from our trip. There are so many good ones! I just had to share a few more of the family before we move on to the next post…
For this trip to New Zealand we decided just to concentrate on visiting family and resting. It has only been a little over two months since my DH’s surgery. He would be filled with energy at times, other times just running low and “out of gas”. Most of all, I believe our spirits really needed to refresh themselves…and not only from the DH’s surgery, but from a very hard winter. I was physically (and mentally) exhausted from all the snowstorms and the work they entailed: shoveling, splitting wood, feeding the wood stove when the furnace acted up at the end of January, and the anguish we both felt not being able to be in New Zealand to welcome Gwen or to help the Kids around the house during the last part of Kelly’s pregnancy as we had hoped to do.
Being with all the family was worth every mile of that long flight over. 🙂

Kelly introducing Gwen as we arrived with the morning’s light

“Who is this Grandma person and why is she calling me her ‘Little Shepherdess’?”

“Alright, Gramps…pull my finger!”

Having a chat while waiting for the ferry from Devonport back to Auckland while “the kid” has my camera
Ross and Kelly’s first attempts at their newly acquired Wii Guitar Hero band. They named their virtual band “Attention Shoppers”.

My buddy, Sam the Cat, whom I tried to spoil

The look out the back off the deck. The tallest tree in the background is a Norfolk Island pine.

The two pictures above are of a Mandevilla vine growing on the deck. It was absolutely breathtaking and a welcome change to see its cheery color after our winter white at home.

Sam sunning under the Pohutukawa Tree
One amazing, happy family! (even if Gwen was getting a bit grumpy…)

Next post…riding the Nihotupu Tramline with Val and Hugo through the New Zealand bush!

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Yes, Folks…it finally happened! We made it to New Zealand to visit our family and meet our new granddaughter, Gwen! Ralph had received clearance from his surgeon that he could make the trip, so tickets and itineraries were hastily planned and off we went. It was wonderful!

The first part of our journey saw us riding our local shuttle down to the Phoenix Airport to catch a flight into LA. Luckily, all our bags could be check through to Auckland so we just had to shuffle ourselves around after checking them in. We took the shuttle as I don’t like really small planes (which is what they use to fly from Flagstaff to Phoenix). I blame my brother for this as he was the pilot for the first plane I ever rode in – a Cherokee Piper. Now, you have to know my brother…who saw this as an opportunity to scare the bejesus out of me, again, and did exactly that. But I digress…where was I? Oh, yeah…
We caught a flight to LA getting there in time to have a bit of a meal as our overseas flight didn’t leave until very late. After eating, we walked or sat and read until we we told we could board. On we went into the Air New Zealand flight of a 777-400! Although it was packed full like a sardine tin, it was a really nice, smooth flight. Both of us managed to dose off once and a while. I don’t think I made it completely through even one of the movies.
Early on the Auckland morning two days later (you lose two days going over due to the International Dateline being crossed but it was actually a 12-hour flight) our son-in-law, Ross, picked us up after we went through Customs.
When ever we arrive in Auckland, I always enjoy the sight of two huge Norfolk Island pines as we step out of the front of the terminal. They’re probably 60 ft. tall or better, but they are both a sign of “Welcome” to me, as is the moisture in the air and the smell of the ocean not far away.
After a fairly short trip we arrived at Ross & Kelly’s house where Kelly and Gwen were waiting for us.

And here she is! Miss Gwen herself!

“So…You’re my Grandpa, huh?”

“Why is Grandma calling me a “Gloucester Fisherman” because of my hat?”

Yes, I do have a few photos of me holding Gwen, but right now I’m taking the pictures…

Snuggles with Daddy

“Mom says Grandpa is trying to rot my brain with TV, but she doesn’t understand that we’re really watching a Cricket Match.”

We had a lovely time visiting family. We really did not intend to do much travel or exploration. We took walks with Kelly and Gwen while Ross was at work, went out for some great meals, had a family barbecue to catch up with the whole clan, and did some short trips into town on the bus or train. Ralph was still recovering from his surgery and I was just plain enjoying myself. It was nice to be able to help out as well. I never thought I’d actually enjoy helping with the dishes or laundry, but I did.
We even went with Val and Hugo, Ross’ parents, on a small train-trip through the New Zealand bush to a reservoir (more on this in another post).

All the grandparents & Gwen

At first the summer weather there was hot and more humid than we’re used to in Arizona, but storms moved through cooling the nights off to where you could definitely tell fall was in the air. This last photo is of something I love, but don’t see very often at my place. Rain. I loved it! 🙂
The other person’s grass is always greener, isn’t it? Well…you should see all the lovely green grass there is in New Zealand! 🙂

More to come…

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OK, OK…I know it’s a fuzzy picture and I promise I will try to take a better one, but I thought it more important to get a post in while I can. My DH has taken over the home office for study while he’s been in an intensive Law Enforcement Management Course that the manager-type people at his work have been doing this year. So, I have not had access to my computer in the evenings lately.

On a trip to the market to buy fruit, I was delighted to find the apples and Zespri kiwifruit from New Zealand were on the shelves as well as the sweet Australian oranges we had tried last week had been re-stocked with fresh ones. Now, yes, while most of the time I like supporting American farmers, I also love to “support” our family in New Zealand. My SIL is probably cringing at my mentioning this, but he’s worked in NZ agriculture for many years. He’s actually been a part of the developement of some of the fruits we like to eat. So, the bottom line is we like to support him too. 🙂 After all, it’s not often that you find a SIL as good as this one. Plus, if we buy Zespri kiwifruit, we will be doing our bit to help with his and my daughter’s salaries…which then helps them to be happy…which makes us happy…

See? What goes around, comes around. As Dolly Levi said in “Hello Dolly”, “Money, pardon the expression, is like manure. It’s doesn’t do a darn thing unless it’s spread around encouraging young things to grow!” This is my philosophy for many things in life which I will not get into right now, but you get the general idea.

So when ya’ll see some of these New Zealand apples and Zespri kiwifruit (not those Californian or Chilean kiwifruit – bypass those) in the markets now, please try them and think kind thoughts towards our New Zealand branch of the family tree. They (New Zealanders) take a lot of pride in making sure you get to enjoy the “fruits” of their labors.

And that branch of our tree is one that we are very fond, and proud, of. We couldn’t have asked for better relatives!

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