Throwing a Clay Bowl

I am inspired by creative people. I love finding one of these gems. The best ones go about their day, working their completely unrelated job, itching to get home so that they can dabble. If you are a creative person, you will know, it’s just so important to find time to unleash this need. Whether it makes you money, or costs you money, it’s benefits are rewarding.

My mother, Julia, is one of those gems.

She has recently reignited her passion for the wheel.

These creative tendencies are often very private and quiet, almost meditative for the artist. However, with their cover blown, they are often very animated and expressive when sharing their passion with a fellow dabbler of art. These people are often extremely humble and modest, and are wonderful people to know and to be around.

My mother shared with me her talent. Making a bowl on a potters wheel from clay.

Throwing a clay bowl

The clay is placed in the centre of the bat

Throwing a clay bowl

The wheel spins slowly while she gets the clay into position, and creates a cone like shape. She presses down in the centre with her thumbs to form a well.

Throwing a clay bowl

She slowly brings the clay out and up to form desired bowl size and thickness

Throwing a clay bowl

Water is keep nearby to keep her hands and the bowl damp.

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Throwing a clay bowl

Using a wire she trims and evens the edge of the bowl, which is removed.

Throwing a clay bowl

Throwing a clay bowl

She gently pinched the bowls edge to form a tidy rounded lip

Throwing a clay bowl

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Throwing a clay bowl

She runs a damp sponge along the inside and the outside of the spinning bowl to get a smooth finish

Throwing a clay bowl

With the wheel stopped, she runs a wire underneath the bowl to remove it from the bat

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She leaves the bowl over night to dry a little.

Then she places it upside down on the wheel to trim the and shape the outside of the  bowl and its base.

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The clay is put into a kiln twice. It is first biscuit fired at 800 C, then a glaze is applied and it is baked again, at over 1000 C.

Julia is a member of the local pottery club where she has access to a kiln, glazing and most importantly, other amazing creative potters!

She works from her studio in Whangapoua. Her bowls can be found at Luke’s Kitchen in Kuaotunu, on the Coromandel Pennisula and via her website juliapots. 

 

 

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!