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This Topsy-Turvy World

semi-overcast 29 °C

Sufferers of jet-lag should probably avoid weeks like ours. In 4 days we have been in 5 countries, 4 time zones, 3 continents, both hemispheres and both sides of the International Date Line. So far we have travelled 17,000 kms and our walkabout has only just begun.

Everything is topsy-turvy in New Zealand and by the time you read this in Canada it is already tomorrow here; we are happily walking upside down and, despite the fact that it’s early February, the thermometer is hovering nicely in the high twenties. However, some of the locals in Auckland are wondering who stole the rest of their holiday season. Apparently December was a bust, but now it’s warm and wet and we are reaping the benefits – talk about green!
large_Giant_Fern.jpg
…and the flowers!
Agaphanthus.jpg
However, these agaphanthus flowers are actually interlopers - an invasive species brought here from South Africa by troops returning from the second Boer War..

It’s a holiday weekend here - Waitangi Day to be precise. This public holiday originally commemorated the historic treaty between the Maori chiefs and the Brits on February 6 1840, Not everyone was convinced that the event was worthy of celebration so in 1973 it was renamed New Zealand Day. Not everyone was happy with that either, so three years later it was changed back. But don’t come expecting patriotic bunting, fireworks, ”Happy Waitangi Day” cakes and barbecued kiwis on the beach. Most New Zealanders are simply content to have a day off. Any raucous gatherings of flag waving Kiwis this year are more likely to be protests against the Trans-Pacific Partnership than celebrations of Waitangi Day. We, however, have left the city and joined the throngs on the beaches of the Coromandel Peninsula at Whangamata…
large_Whangamata_Beach.jpg
O.K. So, despite the 29 degree temperature, the wind and clouds kept folk in the bars.
But James was determined to have a go on a surfboard…
Surfer_Jim.jpg
The Coromandel Peninsula is a popular resort area and we were warned to expect crowds.
This is the main street of the town of Thames after midday on Saturday – market day. (And we thought our island home was quiet!)…
Thames_Main_Street.jpg
The town of Thames has many quaint Victorian buildings that harken back to a bygone era…
large_Dairy_Thames.jpgAnglican_Church.jpg
We’ve only been in New Zealand 24 hours and we’ve already picked up some of the language, i.e. toasty, (toasted sandwich); postie (post office or postman); nudie (not allowed in public); stubby (short beer bottle); and barbie (BBQ). We will certainly learn more as we travel the country but one thing we have learned is that the natives are friendly and they appear to love foreign visitors – we shall see!

Posted by Hawkson 23:58 Archived in New Zealand

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Comments

Zooming in on your Google map gives excellent pictures of the landscape. Looks somewhat like a green Kamloops with plastic-wrapped hay bales. That Bracken? fern, however, dwarfs anything we see here. Maybe they grow better upside-down.

by R and B

oh you make me homesick. I lived in New Zealand for 5 years from 1971-76. We had a craft store and coffee shop in Wikino on the North Island. See if you can find it. It is just south of Thames.

by Jean McLaren

Topsy, turvey or not it will all even out and the adventures begins. Enjoy your barbies, stubby and toasties. Save the nudie for Gabriola.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Looking good, friends! Hope you get to stay in one of those lovely old buildings/pubs.

by Joyce

I guess being able to endure these long flights and date lines makes you travel fit. Not sure I could do it.

by The Vickerage

Thames is a cute little town. Enjoy

by Samchow58

Wonderful - thanks for the trip down memory lane. I spent a year as a Rotary Exchange student in Thames in 1980 and LOVED it. The Coromandel Peninsula holds a very special part in my heart, not to mention the people. Enjoy!

by Shelagh

Wow - what a magical counry

by R and B

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