Glass class

Whanganui is home to over 400 resident artists, and hosts over 15 galleries. Whanganui’s dynamic art scene includes photography, painting, pottery, sculptures, textiles and glass.

One of these outstanding contributors is glass artist David Traub.

I was quick to book in for a glass tutorial at his studio in King Street, called The Glass Factory.

I joined 6 other amateur artists for an instructed class where we used David’s off-cuts to create 2 bowls, magnets or broches and a glass tile.

Using frits we created our design on flat glass disks, which later David slumped over stainless steel bowls, coated in shelf wash.

The kiln is fired over night and your completed masterpieces are packaged and posted home, for you to admire and treasure.

The tile was an interesting activity utilising chunky glass fragments from previous works. We could cut the glass to our desired size and used a metal mallet to crush and sieve pieces to suit. We lined metal moulds with fibre paper and set to work.

My tile was inspired by the Hen Island view we had from our old family beach house. I was really pleased with the result, and look forward to working with glass in the future.

glass art glasswork whanganui wanganui lulu luluslists okoia open studio nz newzealand tile david traub

 

Muse

World famous for its surf breaks, Raglan is a key destination for New Zealand tourists. But regardless of whether its pumping or not, Ngarunui Beach offers paradise to it’s punters. There’s definitely something very special to be found here, with Facebook page’s littered with requests for accommodation and work from overseas travellers, who have fallen in love with the place and never want to leave. The endless beach opportunities offer weather dependant entertainment. The harbour, tidal changes, estuaries and cliffs beacon to be explored. And being a firm west coast location we are graced each night by the most amazing and forever changing sunsets. Just you try to catch a green flash!

Can you see an ape in the rocks?

Bridal Veil Falls

Being new Raglan residents we thought we’d better get exploring all that attracts thousands every year. I started an Instagram @exploring_raglan, a follow on from @thecoromandelguide and @exploringhamilton and look forward to adding our adventures.

Bridal Veil Falls is a NZ must do, and a short detour when en route to Raglan from Hamilton. You take a left down Te Mata Road off State Highway 23, go thru the township and follow the signs until you come across the parking at the bush walk entrance. Be weary of thieves, taking valuables with you.

An easy pram and wheelchair friendly walk leads you to the viewing platform at the top of the waterfall, 55m meters high!

Continuing downwards to the base of the falls is steep and tiresome, but definitely worth it. With viewing platforms and a bridge, you get immersed in the enormity of the Waireinga falls. The waterfall spray has enabled an interesting assortment of vegetation to grow on the sandstone walls, creating a tropical oasis.

‘Waireinga’ means leaping waters, referring to ‘wairua’  the spirits which leap the great height of this waterfall. Waireinga is also spiritually known by ‘tangata whenua’  the people of the land, to be occupied by ‘Patupaiarehe’, Maori fairies who are kaitiaki, the guardians of the area.

A photograph can be captured at the second viewing platform, where the origin of waterfalls name Bridal Veil Falls comes obvious.

 

 

 

 

Tairua Wet n Wild

 

Tairua is host to the Wet n Wild event that runs over a summer weekend. It is an action packed couple of days with plenty to see and do! Tairua is a perfect location for such events as it has a great surf beach for those ocean flips and sprays, and a harbour which on full tide, hosts the jet ski races. These include circuit races, a  slalom track and a public novice track for anyone keen to give it a go!

-unfortunately Tairua Wet n Wild is not running in 2016

There is even flyboard demonstrations!

The weekend is action packed with a good ol Kiwi water slide, and those brave enough can jump off the bridge scaffolding and onto the giant inflatable blobby! Fun for the spectators! I was continually laughing at the children being flung into the air, and the water sliders water entry attempts ; ) An awesome weekend!

NZ Jetski on Facebook

The Coromandel

NZ Jetski WetnWild

This post includes photos from last years event.

For more information on New Zealand tourist attractions pop in and see the volunteers at

Tairua Information Centre

at 223 Main Rd Tairua, (07) 864 7580

Find them on Facebook too!

https://www.facebook.com/tairuainfocentre

Mill Creek Bird and Animal Encounters

Mill Creek Bird and Animal Encounters, also known as Mill Creek Bird Park, is located 10min South of Whitianga, towards Tairua. There is signage on State Highway 25,  leading you to a dirt road and onto their driveway, lined with mini train tracks ; )

Mill creek bird and animal garden

As you wander the grounds you will find a range of animals for the kids to feed, from donkeys to eels, from to turtles to geese. There is over 400 birds housed in 45 aviaries ranging from tiny finches to huge Macaws.

They have been operating a  Bird & Animal Rescue Centre for the past 3 years, and have DOC authority to hold injured protected wildlife in captivity, so you may get the to opportunity to see New Zealand native birds such as the Ruru (Morepork) or the Kereru (Wood pigeon) up close!

There’s plenty to keep the kids occupied, with mini train rides, a playground and a mini putt. Mum and Dad can relax at the Station Café.

There is even accommodation to suit, whether it’s a campervan park, a self contained unit or B’n’B you need, they can provide it. They will even allow your dog or bird to stay with you at the campground! (prior arrangement)

 

For more information on New Zealand tourist attractions pop in and see the volunteers at

Tairua Information Centre

 223 Main Rd Tairua, (07) 864 7580

Find them on Facebook too!

https://www.facebook.com/tairuainfocentre

Whiti Farm Park Fun!

Whiti Farm Park is located along State Highway 25, between Tairua and Whitianga.

You can’t miss it! Its so decorative and creative, capturing the imagination and excitement all of children and adults that venture through the gates! Many of the structures have been created using recycled pieces and have been built by hand with a lot of love and passion. It is definitely worth a look! Bring a picnic and stay for the day.

Whiti Farm Park is magical playground, with a ship to explore, toadstool tables and a giant trampoline! There so much to keep children of all ages entertained….

….and then there’s the animals!

Buy your kids a bag of animal feed at the office and away they go! It’s obvious how much these animals are loved. Their enclosures are clean and well kept, and the animals all looked very healthy and happy. I would definitely recommend this to anyone!

whiti farm park finger bitten emu

For more information on New Zealand tourist attractions pop in and see the volunteers at

Tairua Information Centre

 223 Main Rd Tairua, (07) 864 7580

Find them on Facebook too!

https://www.facebook.com/tairuainfocentre

Golden Hills Battery

 

The Golden Hills Battery  is a short walk which is great for kids, and prams as there aren’t any stairs! It can be a very educational walk as it takes you past two mining tunnels, one with the trolley tracks coming out of it. Unlike other tunnels in these hills, these ones are either unsafe or are still in use, so are closed off to the public. The history of this area is amazing, and the ruins help piece it all together. In 1908 the Golden Hills mine was producing gold on a large scale. By 1910 the stamper battery was built across the river from the mine. Unfortunately production lasted only 3 years.

At the end of the track are the battery ruins. What remains are the concrete foundations with support wires embedded, and huge concrete arches that once supported large cyanide vats.

 

For more information on New Zealand tourist attractions and walks

call in and see the volunteers at

Tairua Information Centre

 223 Main Rd Tairua, (07) 864 7580

Find them on Facebook too!

https://www.facebook.com/tairuainfocentre

Gem of the Boom Creek

So back up Puketui Valley Rd Doug and I went! Today we were just after a short walk, after my epic 14km walk completing in the Surf 2 Firth ; )

6.5km in from the main Highway 25 is the Bridge Carpark. I walked back along the dirt road until I got to the bush entrance (the opposite direction of the white bridge). The Broken Hills  Gem of the Boom track is an easy walk of 20min. It’s really fun for adults as it gives a couple of good opportunities to scare the bejezzes outta the kids!

Take the lower path…

puketui valley broken hills walking track coromandel nz

which leads to a bridge…

puketui valley broken hills walking track coromandel nz gold mining glow worms

and onto the first tunnel, where you can see cave weta. The track is easily followed by locating the orange triangles. The old type are equilateral triangles which are just nailed to a tree, while the new type are more pointed and actually indicate the direction of the track! Much better! Thanks DOC.

Further along you will come across another cave. Now this one is pretty deep. It goes in an L shape, so if you can get ahead of your party and hide, it makes for a good heart attack ; )

It also has a few glow worms. What I like about this cave is that the worms are low down, so you can easily show children the droplet chains that these creatures create to trap bugs, which are attached to the glow worms glow!

More on glowworms

The damp walls glistening with what is probably insect poop, looks like silver and gold!  Very magical ; )

Then, not much further along is the dug out jail cave, where lies a naughty miner!

For more information on New Zealand tourist attractions and walks

call in and see the volunteers at

Tairua Information Centre

 223 Main Rd Tairua, (07) 864 7580

Find them on Facebook too!

Playing in Puketui Valley

One of my favourite places to play is the Puketui Valley Broken Hills walking tracks. The turn off is pretty much opposite the turnoff to Pauanui on State Highway 25. Morrison Road turns into Puketui Valley Rd, which takes you past the Te Timatanga earthship, and onto a scenic stretch of gravel road. Don’t mistake this road for Puketui Rd, which comes off the Kopu-Hikuai Rd, State Highway 25a.

Make sure you let someone know where you are going and what time you are due back, as there is no cell phone coverage once you’re in there!

Drive across an amazing bridge and you will soon see the tranquil DOC Campsite at Broken Hills (which unfortunately does not allow dogs.) The Broken Hills tracks  do tho, so I took my boy, Doug along for the day.

Further up the road you will come to two different track entry points, and roadside parking. The first offers two short walks, both easy walks and are child friendly.

At the end of  Puketui Valley Rd is the entrance to an array of tracks of varying distances.

I like to photograph the maps if I didn’t already have one, so that once in there I can look back on my phone to see which way to go, or what it is I’ve stumbled upon.

I had about 2 hours to play, so decided on the Collins Track, taking the Water Race Tracks.

As with most New Zealand bush walks, the protection of the native Kauri tree is of great importance. Kauri Dieback refers to the disease Phytophthora agathidicida. The spores from this fungus-like disease live in soil and are spread with soil movement. That is why they ask you to clean your gear after venturing into one of New Zealand’s native forests and to keep to the tracks, staying off the Kauri roots. These tracks however did not have the sanitising stations which I’ve seen at other bush walks.

In the 1900’s Broken Hills was a site for Gold Mining. This type of alluvial mining was tough. It involved digging and sifting through mud, sand and gravel using shovels sieves, or even bare hands. Batteries were built to process the quartz found. The quartz was battered into powder by massive stamper which released the gold particles so they could be chemically recovered using cyanide. This process required water and that’s what the race tracks were built for. To ensure a good supply to the plant.

Gold mining in New Zealand

The track lead through three short tunnels. If you are afraid of the dark, or not keen on weta , I advise you to clamber over the tunnels following the narrow paths!

I took the 3rd Water Race Track, and added an extra 20min to my trek, an awful lot steps but some pretty amazing views!

Then, the descent, which took me past some pretty scary looking old mines and thankfully back to the double tunnels! Oh yay, wetas again!

 

By that stage I was well ready for some open space and enjoyed the fresh scenic walk along the rivers edge….

back to the short bridge I crossed at the start.

But this time I notice a little path just to the right of the Water Race Track. I had a quick peek and saw a cute little stream, and Doug had a drink. The underside of the bridge was pretty cool too. Even if you aren’t into big bush walks, at least park at the end of the Puketui Valley Rd and walk 10min to this little bridge, check out the waterfall, and then 5 min further up are the amazing river views. You won’t be disappointed.

 

For more information on New Zealand tourist attractions and walks

call in and see the volunteers at

Tairua Information Centre

 223 Main Rd Tairua, (07) 864 7580

Find them on Facebook too!

Surf to Firth -toughening up

Being new to competitive running/walking I signed up for the 14k walk. I was just ‘Toughening Up’ ; ) My father, who was running the Surf to Firth marathon for the second time was ‘Tough Enough’.

Our bus ride dropped us up at the Waiotahi Block track, where we checked in and waited until our start time of 10am. This was a great time to chat to other competitors and to hear their story’s of how and why they we taking on the challenge. I meet John from Texas who had been Air Bnb’ing around New Zealand with his wife; Glen, whose wife was supporting him while grandparents minded their daughters and a young woman from the UK who has been in New Zealand for 3 weeks and was working and living at the Thames hospital. I’m looking forward to the results to see how these guys all got on!

I was fortunate to find a lovely couple, Andy and Sue from Pauanui, who were travelling at a great pace. I apologised as I tagged along with them for an hour, until we came across the mud. Ooooo and there was lots of it!

Andy has been a volunteer involved in the Pauanui To Tairua Trail which I have previously blogged about! I love the 8km track they have created. He told me of their struggle to find sponsor’s for the project. Check out the link if you think maybe you could contribute!

The first half of the track took an hour and a half, which was pretty good, considering the DOC tramping estimated times.

surf to firth nz new zealand bush walk run coromandel

From this height we came across some pretty amazing views.

The weather was perfect, although it had rained over night, which resulted in some pretty messy sneakers. At some spots there just wasn’t anywhere to go but straight through it. I pitied my father who was yet to come through this part of the track! I wasn’t sure what state he would find it in! I came across a stream, hesitated and put my foot right in it! I tripped once, on the descent and grazed my leg. It was awesome!

Then the 1km mark, and I was out of the bush and walking as fast I could to the finish line and my adoring fans! It was hard to resist the urge to run!

Then a 2 hour wait for my Dad to finish his marathon!

surf to firth nz new zealand bush run walk coromandel

It was a great race and now I’m hooked! I can’t wait for the next race and will definitely attempt a run rather than a walk, which had it’s own challenges. Sometimes I just wanted to run! And it was hard being overtaken by runners when you know you had it in you to go faster too! Will see how sore I am tomorrow, how my bruise browns up and try and get all that mud off my shoes!

Surf 2 Firth

Before I go, check out this guy’s post:surf to firth nz new zealand bush run walk coromandel Craig Lovelock

He’s Craig Lovelock and is fundraising for St Catherines Hospice.

A mazing!

surf to firth nz new zealand bush run walk coromandel Craig Lovelock

52 Marathons Facebook Page

For more information on New Zealand tourist attractions and walks

call in and see the volunteers at

Tairua Information Centre

 223 Main Rd Tairua, (07) 864 7580

info.tairua@xtra.co.nz

Find them on Facebook too!