Thursday, September 30, 2010

Our Night out at Dino's

After the official reception at Government House some of us made our way to Dino's which is about a 10 minute drive from town - such a long way out!!!

The reason for the dinner was a surprise dinner for Vince as it was his birthday.  There were about 20 of us and we had the best time.  Vince got lots of pressies including the birthday cake from Mel.

Vince and his lovely Anna

Anna and I splurged by having a cocktail each - hers was far nicer than mine!!!  She had a Japanese Slipper and I had a Frangipani something or other.

Me, Rob and my cocktail

The meals were delicious, - Rob had the lamb and I had the veal.  Both dishes came with prawns, potatoes and salad.

Rob, Coral, Bruce, Alison, Steve, Doug, Eve and Anna at one table

Dessert was the delicious cake that Mel brought - it was chocolate with cream in the middle, chocolate icing and chocoate shavings on the top then the sides of the cake was white chocolate pieces.

Glenn, Melissa and Kiri at the other table

Elizabeth and Kim enjoying themselves

The "Gorgeous Four"
We all had a great night - happy birthday Vince!!!

Police Remberance Day and Official Reception

On 29th September, serving and retired Norfolk Island Police with family and friends, gathered at All Saints Church, Kingston to remember the officers in the Australia and Pacific region who have died in the line of duty.

The service lasted about an hour and there were some moving speeches from Mr Owen Walsh, our Administrator and OIC Detective Sargeant Vince Pannell.  Rob had a reading of the names and locations of serving officers that had died in service this year.

At the conclusion of the ceremony many formal photos were taken to commemorate Police Rememberance Day 2010.

OIC Vince Pannell with current and retired Norfolk Police officers

Rob and me on the steps outside the All Saints Church

The next night, The Administrator, the Hon Mr Owen Walsh, and his wife Bianca, hosted an official reception at Government House in appreciation of the Norfolk Island Police Force.

It was a lovely evening, very mild weather, and Government House is absolutely beautiful and is especially so at night.

These people received a certificate of appreciation in helping the Norfolk Island Police Force
Elizabeth and Steve, Mel and Glenn, Vince and Anna were also there - we enjoyed ourselves very much. 
Rob and me at the Official Reception

Later that evening we went out to Dino's Restaurant as it was Vince's birthday - that is the next post on my blog!!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Our New Zealand Adventures

Rob, Andrew and I went for our big adventure to New Zealand for two weeks.  The plan was to drive from Auckland down through to Wellington, then fly back to Auckland for our trip home to Norfolk.

Well, the plan worked, however, the weather was against us.  We all knew it was going to be cold and we were well rugged up but we were not expecting the unrelenting rain.  It rained and rained and it really spoilt our holiday - not that were were planning on many outdoor pursuits like trekking or mountaineering, but having a stroll about the "town of the day" without cyclonic winds and rain would have been nice!

After two weeks of driving down the North Island I have come to the conclusion that New Zealand is exactly like Norfolk Island except it is a thousand times bigger and it has dreadful weather.

Anyway, apart from this bitch and moan when I look at the photos I realise that we did have some great moments and thank God I love taking photos so now I can share those moments with you.

Auckland view from the Skytower - we were staying in the tall white building in the middle

We arrived in Auckland on Saturday afternoon.  We went and visited some friends of Robs that night and we had McDonalds for dinner which we were all craving for - hadn't had Maccas for nearly 10 months - yikes.  It was a delicious just as I remembered by the way.

The next day we went to a huge shopping complex called Sylvia Park and shopped all day long.  It was Father's Day and we rang Tom from Auckland so he could chat to his dad and wish him well.  That afternoon we went to Pak and Save which is a huge supermarket outlet in NZ and stocked up on all sorts of fruit as we haven't had much fruit here on the Island, except for copious amounts of bananas!!

Rob and Andrew at the Skytower

On the Monday we went up the Skytower and took a photo of where we were staying.  I was feeling a bit sick so only the two boys went up to the other level.   That night we all had a walk around Auckland City Centre and it was nice to have so many people about - we went for dinner at this Thai restaurant and it was really delicious - I chose the yellow curry beef that I love and Rob and I had some NZ red wine which was nice.

Rob and I sampled alot of the local beers and ciders that NZ had to offer and at dinner we always chose an NZ wine and they were all very nice by the way.   We stayed 3 nights in Auckland before we headed up north to the Bay of Islands.

We had great expectations of driving all the way up to the Bay of Islands to get to Whangarei (pronounced Fungaray) which is a three hour drive away but only got an hour or so out of Auckland before I was feeling really carsick and had to stop for the night - we stayed at the only motel in Wellsford for the night.

The next day we decided to not bother going any further north so we started to drive back through to Auckland to get to the Coromandel Pennisula and found this little shop in Warkworth on the way.  We stopped and had morning tea. 

We bought lots of choccies from here - Warkworth

From Warkworth we made our way to the Coromandel Pennisula but we stopped off at a pottery place in Mattakana on the way and had a lovely lunch there.  I had a beautiful bowl of seafood chowder and the boys like their lunch too - the place reminded me of Pialligo

Here we are waiting for our lunch in a almost sunny courtyard

I took car sick pills at lunch time which was the best thing as the road from Thames to Corromandel Town is like driving up and down the Clyde mountain for two hours (for my Canberra readers) or to and from Burnt Pine to Kingston for two hours (for my Norfolk Island readers).  Extremely windy and I wasn't too sure if the journey was worth it, until I got there. The place is very Norfolky which I think is particularly pretty.

Rob and I went to a bar for a drink which was lovely then we went to a gorgeous restaurant expecting lots of seafood on the menu as Coromandel is famous for its prawns, oysters and scallops.  Unfortunately, there was no seafood but we had a delicious meal anyway.

Rob and I eating at The Pepper Tree restaurant

Here is a street scene from Coromandel Town

Rob and I had a drink at this lovely old pub at Coromandel Town

Before leaving the Pennisula we had great plans the next morning to ride the little train that runs around the place for an hour or so but it was pouring with rain.  It would have been closed to passengers anyway so we took off out of the Pennisula which was lucky as it was going to be closed to traffic due to the rain so we were pleased to get out while we could.

We drove on to Hamilton.  It was the rainiest day and place yet and we didn't really want to do much and we weren't sure what was on anyway but we discovered there was a casino and ten pin bowing in the same place so we went to the casino.  Andrew couldn't go in of course so we went upstairs to the bowling alley and there was a tournament going on so we didn't play ourselves.

We left Andrew watching the bowlers while Rob and I went downstairs to the casino to play the pokies.  I had forgotten how boring they were!  Went back upstairs to collect Andrew and he was munching on the food that was laid out for the tournament bowlers!!!  He thought the food was for everyone!!  He wasn't hungry but Rob and I were so we had dinner at one of the bars inside.

Here's Rob and Andrew outside the Casino at Hamilton

We got up early in the morning and made our way to Waitomo Caves - I was very much looking forward to seeing the glow worms again.

Here I am outside the caves

Me in the caves

The last time I was at Waitomo Caves I was 22 years old and so much smaller and fitter than I am now.  I had forgotten about how many stairs there were!  We went into the little boats and looked at the glow worms and they were as beautiful as I remembered.

As soon as we got out of the caves we made our way to Rotorua where we were going to stay two nights.  Once we were settled in our accommodation, Andrew wasn't feeling too well so Rob and I went by ourselves to Maitai Village for a Hungi and cultural show.

A hungi is a meat and veg meal cooked with hot coals in a hole in the ground.  This is a tradition Maori meal.
There was about 200 people in a huge tent.  We were all there waiting to be fed when we were told go outside for the cultural show.  We walked to this river and some time later these maori warriors came in their boats.  They were all huffing and puffing with their maori chants and it was a lovely scene.  We were then all taken to a seating area where the "village" was and there the maori ladies did their dances and poi throwing and the boys did their singing, dancing and the haka.

Here are the maori warriors coming up the river
After the show we were taken back to the large tent where the hungi was all laid out for eating.  The whole meal was delicious.

Rob saying hello to a swan at Rainbow Springs, Rotorua

Rob and I and some others of the group chose to go next door to Rainbow Springs for a night time tour.  Rainbow Springs is a zoo of sorts and we saw lots of NZ lizards and birds but we were all there to see a Kiwi which we did - couldn't take photos though.

Outside the Agrodome, Rotorua

The next day was Saturday and our first week was over.  Andrew was well enough to come to the Agrodome with us and it was great that he could be with us.  The Agrodome shows all the good breeds of sheep and gives us a shearing demo and then the sheep dogs came out and did their thing.  Andrew was asked up on stage to milk a cow and he got a certificate of participation for that effort! 

Andrew on stage after the show

The next day, we went to the Rotorua Museum which used to be the old bath house.  Seeing the old bath tubs reminded me of those awful insane asylums where they put the poor patients in these baths for hours on end but, apparently, it was a real treat to come to the baths and people came from miles and miles.

This building is the Rotorua Museum - the old bath house
Rob having a coffee bowl at the Museum coffee shop.
My boy and me at the Rotorua Museum

After the museum we made our way down to Napier.  This town was my favourite.  Maybe the weather had something to do with that as the weather was delightful.  It is a little town on the east coast of NZ.  They had an earthquake in 1931 and the town was rebuilt in the art deco style.  The centre of town very much reminded me of Garema Place in Civic, Canberra.

This town reminded me of Garema Place, Civic

Rob and I relaxing in Napier - we did lots of shopping here

Our view from the Napier motel unit - notice all the Norfolk Pines?

Our unit was right on the waterfront which was lovely and it was a pity we only stayed one night.  The next day we went to the National Aquarium.  We enjoyed the aquarium.

Andrew playing to the camera
Large shark teeth

The Aquarium was on the waterfront of beautiful Napier

We then drove on in a southerly direction towards Wellington.  We drove from Napier through to its sister city Hastings and right into a storm - the awful weather was back - sigh.

This statue was outside the museum at Palmerston North
We drove in the wet until we got to Palmerston North.  It is quite a big city and we stayed just the one night.   Andrew wasn't feeling well enough to go out so Rob and I walked around the place for dinner after finally finding a car park.  The place was full of people which was nice to see, but it was absolutely freezing so we didn't walk too far before we found a little place to eat.  Cheapy Thai - wasn't so nice.

The next day we all went to a museum where the best thing was a shearing machine which was a "sheep" with barcodes all over the body and you had to shear the sheep with the scanner!

Here's Andrew scanning shearing the sheep - lol
After the museum we made our way down to Wellington.  We arrived in Wellington on the Tuesday afternoon.  I was very excited about seeing the place again, but little did I know then but I didn't recognise any part of the place - I couldn't even find the house I live in - jeez I was disappointed.

Mount Victora view from Te Papa, Wellington

After settling in our unit the whole three of us were not feeling well.  Rob and I went for a drink at a pub across from where we were staying and we had a quick walk along Willis Street and Lambton Quay but I didn't recognise anything.  Hummfff.  I had to have a lie down so we went back to the unit and didn't leave until the next day when we went to Te Papa = wonderful place.

The magnificent Te Papa

Me at Te Papa

On Wednesday we stayed at the museum for many hours as there is so much to see - I loved place - Andrew had Ourspace to explore and Rob and I just wandered about, we had lunch there and we didn't leave until about 3.00.

The Treaty of Waitangi
After leaving the museum that afternoon Rob drove me to Kelburn and the street where I used to live and we tried to find the house I lived in.  Wellington is particularly windy and the roads are tiny and everyone has to give way to oncoming traffic.  After about 15 minutes of these awful streets I told Rob to go home - yes I was car sick.  I spent the rest of the afternoon and night in bed - typical.

The next two days in Wellington I didn't go outside.  What as waste!!!!  Didn't see much at all of Wellington and couldn't even take Andrew on the cable car up to the Botanic Gardens in Kelburn.  Apparently at the top there is a space museum which we would have loved.  And we missed out on seeing the Beehive Parliament House too although we drove past it once.  There was also the Waca Caves which is the home to the Lord of the Rings stuff which we should have been able to go to but alas we were too sick.

My chest cold had gotten worse and I got my asthma back which always scares me.  I felt awful.  Andrew was sick too and Rob started feeling bad.  Only Rob ventured out on our last day as he had to find travel sickness pills for me as I had run out and I had two more flights to go in two days - torture!!!!

The view from the reception of our hotel looking up to The Terrace
On the Thursday before we left the whole country was warned about storm activity that was on its way and everyone had to be prepared for damage -  great - just great.

We left Wellington early Friday morning for the airport for our flight to Auckland and it must have been the calm before the storm as it was a lovely day, that night however, Wellington really suffered under the hurricane like winds that buffeted the place.

I found my friend Barbara at Auckland Airport - she was coming back from Los Angeles
After a stormy Friday night in Auckland we drove to the airport for our trip home to Norfolk.  The flight was delayed by 2 hours but that didn't bother me.  In the airport I found my friend Barbara and we had coffee and a catchup.  We had an hour on the plane before takeoff but we all had our own little screens and I was watching The Big Bang Theory which I find hilarous.

We finally got home and I couldn't believe how happy I was to be home - first of all it was warm - at last.  Our dear friends Elizabeth and Steve bought our girls to the airport to meet us which I loved.  As soon as we got home I took off the winter woolies and was straight back into my summer clothes - two weeks of winter weather was enough for me.

Elizabeth and Steve babysitted our girls while were were away -
thanks guys - they loved their holiday in Quality Row!
Looking back as I am doing this blog I realise that we did have a good time and I am happy that we did go and I am back in love with Norfolk Island probably more than ever.