30 October 2011

School of Mines & Rotorua

Mineral Museum

We spent our last day in Thames exploring the School of Mines with Richard and Tony, the father of our host Patrick.  I was very keen to see their mineral collection!

27 October 2011

My life's to do list


Sam and I spent a couple days in Matarangi, on the north end of the Coromandel Peninsula, with a CouchSurfer named Scott.  The drive up the coast of the peninsula was beautiful, even though Sam likes to drive around curves faster than I do.  Much of the highway leading north snakes around the coast, and the places where the road turns inland are just as nice.

25 October 2011

Treasure hunt


Sam, Richard & I went hiking, or "tramping" as they call it here, in search of a good spot for gold panning.  While the boys panned, I poked around in search of crystals, and of the three of us, I found the most booty.

24 October 2011

Location tagging

I want to point out a new feature on the blog.  I've begun location tagging my posts, so you can see where we are on a map.  Some posts feature more than one location, so I chose one.  You can find the location at the very bottom of the post, underneath the share buttons.

A location will only appear if the post has been tagged.

Clicking the link will take you to google maps, where you will see our location pegged.  Cool, huh?

23 October 2011



Sam and I arrived in Thames on Monday.  Thames is at the base of the Coromandel Peninsula, known for its history rich in gold mining.  So far, Thames is our favorite little town in New Zealand.  The little shops lining its town center are eclectic and quaint, and the conifer-coated mountains springing up around it remind me of Colorado.  Perhaps it was because of the street market today, but the whole town has a great community vibe that we both appreciate.

17 October 2011

Moving South

I'm been a bit behind on the blog, because our internet connection has been up and down on the road.  A lot has happened in the last few days!  We drove south from Whangerei on Thursday, stopping along the way at a cheese shop and spending more than we should have on some very fine cheeses.  One, a walnut cheese, reminds me of pecan-crusted cheese balls from Smith family Christmas gatherings.  Being a cheese lover is an expensive habit, so after this moment of weakness we have resolved to return to our frugal budget.


13 October 2011

Abbey Caves

In Middle Cave

If this pony was mine, his name would be Fabio.

 Our visit to the Abbey Caves proved to be every bit as wet as I expected, and much more muddy! Reaching the caves entailed traipsing down a long, thick trail of deep, slippery mud. Sam decided the best course was to go barefoot, while I did a bit of light trespassing, jumping the fence to walk through a grassy field of grazing ponies.  I'm proud to announce I didn't slip and fall!

11 October 2011

From Pahi to Whangerei


Pahi was beautiful most days, although very rainy a few. We made steady progress on Elaine & Grant's house, and had a lot of funny conversations between the six of us.

04 October 2011

The Kaipara Harbor

Vegetable garden
Nearly finished, with only the fence remaining.

During our last two days at Naturally Alpacas, we transformed a small patch of grass and dirt into a large vegetable garden for Christine. It was hard, satisfying work leveling the ground, building the frames and moving the dirt and gravel into place.  I want one for myself someday!