Nelson Holiday Trip 2017


Awake. 0645am. Drive. Ferry. 0900. Snooze. Sneeze. Block ear.

Picton. 1230 Lunch. Sea Breeze Cafe. Chicken Panini. Inclusion of capsicum gets thumbs up. Good chips. Walk around Picton. Overcast.

Drive. Nelson. Nodded off (not drastically) Whoops. 15min pitstop for kip. Arrive Nelson. 1600. Check in to apartment. Nice. Supermarket for Snacks etc.

Dinner. BK. Up to standard. Frozen Coke brain freeze. Sleep.




1030 Leave for Takaka Hill. Hawke Lookout. Wow. Reasonable drive up. Tried to find Lord of the Rings site. Unmarked so unknown; but we think we got it.

Drive down Takaka Hill. By far one of the top driving roads I have driven.

Farewell Spit 1320. Lunch. Pizza. Didn’t finish.

Drive back. Rabbit Island. Good beach. Few snaps. Back to apartment 1600.

Sunset shots. Good enough. You make your own luck.

Dinner. Settled for Lone Star. Late. Great Chicken though. Moist and succulent. Movie 2035. Wonder Woman. Average to Good. Sleep.



1100 start. Shopping. Lunch. Yello Cafe. Chicken panini. No capsicum. Not as good. Continue walk through town. Buy Lord of the Rings rings. Matching set. Outer engraving of elvish poem on wifey’s with lines 1 and 2. Inner engraving on mine with lines 3 and 4. Hopefully they fit together. Hear news of weather. Possible ferry cancellations until Friday (when we plan to return). Might be a full ferry I suspect.

Walk up Hill from Botanical Garden. 1500. “Centre” ofNew Zealand. Great view. Back to apartment. Rest. Snooze. Nap. 1830 Dinner. Speights Ale House. Great wait staff. Chicken Burger. Lovely. Dessert. Good. Back to apartment 2043. TV. Sleep.


1040 Supermarket lunch. Drive to St Arnaud. First time back since NLDC 2001 Stage 2 (Solo). Surprised at how much the drive to the lake hit me. Memories. Faces. Happenings. Failures. Even at the lake, it was powerful, and the nostalgia that set in. Quite glad I didn’t have to go out on the lake today. Very windy. Had lunch and reminisced on the very impactful part that this place had on me and my life 16 years ago. Found some spots from memory. Took photos. Went on a walk. Took more photos.

Checked into motel 1400.Enforced nap due to intermittent TV connection and high winds. Booked dinner at Alpine Lodge 1600. Visited general store and book borrowing box. No luck. Dinner 1830. Pizza. Filled a hole. Nice atmosphere. Motel. Sleep.

130717: THURSDAY


Checkout 1000. Visited visitor centre. one last trip to the lake for photos. Ice still covering the jetty. Left St Arnaud 1035. Went to see Bow. Not keen. Arrived Nelson 1145. Lunch at Styx across from apartment. Fish burger. Full. Put me off dinner. 1400 met with Vicky’s friend Lynaire. Good catch-up. 1600 received text that rings were ready. Collected rings shortly after. Back to apartment. TV. Dinner. TV. Sleep.

140417: FRIDAY


Pack up apartment. Left 1015. McDonalds Brunch because we would be on the road at traditional lunch time. Said goodbye to Nelson. Happy to have v3n, but not somewhere I’d recommend to anyone else to go visit. on road 1050. Arrive Picton 1215 with only one close call when overtaking. Boarded Ferry 1335. Departed 1438. 4m swells but largely unaffected. Delay at Wellington dock. Disembarked at 1935. Drove home, with a quick stop at Nando s for dinner. Home sweet home with awaiting furbabies 2008.


Google Map of our Travels

Green, 2013

Trip to Taranaki

This week, Vicky and I got to head away for our 3rd Wedding anniversary. We got married on the first day of the middle school holidays in 2010. This year we were couple of weeks late of the actual date, due to a late start of school, and 11 week terms. But we booked out the first week anyway, and decided we would head to New Plymouth. It had been a good 20-25 years since I had been there, and Vicky remembers lots of childhood memories from the area.

The first leg of the trip included lunch at Wanganui. We walked up and down a few streets before stumbling into a cafe called ‘Mint‘. We would definitely head back there due to the very good hospitality from our waiter, who was able to do his job whilst taking care of us as well, with impeccable timing and professionalism. Vicky wanted to take him with us to every restaurant we visited.


We went the long way around Mt Taranaki in order to visit Okato, a small rural town that my mother grew up in. We stopped to take a few photos and take in the surrounds, which as it turns out, Mum wouldn’t remember anyway!

1001077_10151569997712643_1166591562_nWe arrived in New Plymouth just before 4pm on Wednesday 17 July. We were staying at a lovely little motel, though upon arrival heard a brass eruption from a trumpet in one of the rooms – which happened to be next to ours. Not to worry. A bit of music to sooth the soul for half an hour each day wouldn’t hurt. We got acquainted with the room and then headed out and about and found dinner. Woodfired Pizza was the only option really, considering that ever since we got married, we have had pizza on Wednesday nights – without fail! Numero Uno Pizza is the name of the place if you are visiting New Plymouth and want a good pizza!

Thursday we woke to an overcast but otherwise fine day. We headed out at about 11am to go second hand shopping, which Vicky had prepared for by obtaining the addresses of various second hand shops around New Plymouth. We visited all of them, as well as some extras that weren’t on the list, and came away with a few books, a dynamic microphone, a hacksaw, a shirt, and a christmas jug. Then we attacked the visitors centre and figure out what to do for the rest of our stay.
There’s not a lot. Luck would have it however, that the New Zealand Brass Band Competition was in town for the week. We couldn’t pass a corner without hearing the glorious sound of vibrating horns and blasting trumpets. Am I being serious? No. But it did explain our neighbour at the motel.
So we headed out to get lunch, which proved nigh on impossible. Finding a park proved to be too much, and so we headed out to the suburbs to try and find something. After a quick browse on the internet, we found the address for Stumble Inn, and, ironically, stumbled in.

St. Andrew's, 2013After lunch we headed back into town to visit one more second hand store, and then take some photos. Two churches were the subject to most of these. Inside St Andrews they were having part of the brass band competition or rehearsals or something, so we didn’t stay long. The other church was St Mary’s which is the oldest stone church in New Zealand which Vicky remembers from her visits when she was younger.


Green, 2013We headed up to Pukekura Park to finish off the day. It was good just to get outside in nature. I was amazed by the Bowl, a natural amphitheater that was one of the best I have seen.


We returned to the motel to another horn practice and figured out what we wanted to do for dinner. After the disaster that was lunch, we really didn’t feel like hunting around. We went to our trusty favourite of “Large Sandwich Royalty” (or Burger King) and brought it back to the hotel. We borrowed a couple of movies from the motel and enjoyed a peaceful night in.

Unfortunately the peace didn’t last as long as we had hoped. Instead of a 10am sleep in, we were woken by the god-awful noise of trumpet on toast at 8:30am. Stumbling out of bed to shove a sock up it seemed like too much effort though. Luckily the day went a little better. It was overcast and was drizzling on and off. We headed out to visit the Museum and the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery. We parked at one end of the Costal Walkway, which was surprisingly simple compared with the debacle yesterday. We wandered down the waterfront, and then crossed to the Museum. They had a photography exhibition in which suited my tastes. We grabbed some lunch whilst walking through the Brass Band parade. After lunch we tried to visit Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, but it was closed for renovations. Gutted.

Wind Wand, 2013
So we went back and took some photos of the walkway. Then went for a drive down the coast and around about south New Plymouth.

Horizons, 2013

Dinner was going to be family restaurant time, but we were shattered and the sound of Fish n Chip Friday was too appealing. So we ate, we watched TV, and re-connected with each other. It was actually good just to chillax.

That was until the trumpeter and his mates decided to use the motel as party central for their Friday night. 12:10 passed, and it was still going. I visited just about every motel website there was online and found that it is common knowledge that people are asked to keep their noise down from 9pm onwards, and visitors asked to leave by 10pm. I used the time to plot devious ways of revenge, including using our room heat-pump remote in the middle of the night to turn their heat pump on high. It also included letting down their tires without them seeing me – but I figured that would just keep the unwelcome noise-making friends longer.

We were away by 9:45am the next morning, heading for Inglewood and Stratford. We didn’t see much reason to stop, and so continued on our way. We stopped in Foxton for the Foxton Trading Post – the last second hand shop on Vicky’s list, before stopping in at our favourite lunch spot; ‘Mothered Goose’ (which hysterically comes up as ‘MOTHERED GOOSEBULLS’ on the bank statement!). It is a quaint little cafe, which whilst mildly over-priced, is guaranteed edible and enjoyable food.

Luckily the traffic both ways was actually reasonable. There were still about 5 too many retards on the roads who see passing lane and think “Speeding Lane”, then at it’s conclusion, apply brakes and resume at their previous speed of 80km/hr. One day it will get the better of me and I will make a website where people can name and shame people’s number plates if they drive like morons.

All in all, it was a mixed holiday. It was good to get away from home and work. But it was also a tad too frustrating in different areas to be relaxing, and actually ended up thinking about home and work more because of that. It was good to reconnect with Vicky, but overall, we probably could have achieved the same by spending some days together at home.

Taupo: 2 Years Anniversary

Because I am a teacher, we were able to get married during the July school holidays, and forever have some sort of time off around our anniversary.

This year, for our 2 year anniversary, we took a week and went up to Taupo. We stayed in a little batch (which its biggest draw card was a built in spa pool) just outside of Taupo in Wharewaka, on the lake shore.

The drive up was fine. We left after church (which was a great service as well!) and headed up the line. The traffic was minimal, and we arrived right on time, just after 5pm.

Monday, our first day, I decided to get up before the sun and head out down to the lake to take a few sunrise photos on the lake. I got a few sorted out. It took me a while to get used to the adjustments of the light, as well as trialling out my new graduated ND8 filter. Returning to the bach resulted in a return to bed.

We headed out to the Huka falls and surrounding areas around lunch time. We did a bit of a bush walk, before returning to the falls to get some photos. All was going well until my tripod decided to flare up with an old injury. The head of the tripod completely fell apart, resulting in it resembling three sticks rather than a tripod. And as sturdy!

We headed up to Craters of the Moon, the first of our visits to Geothermal hotspots for a wander around the steam and craters.

Tuesday was our actual anniversary, and we celebrated by going shopping for each other. We traipsed around every street in the township, and after spending all day in and out of shops, we didn’t find anything we wanted. I got a wind jacket which will serve me well on future photo trips, and Vicky bought a dress.
We returned back to Wharewaka and got ready for dinner. We were going to Ploughmans, an old English restaurant and bar. It was actually divine. The menu was straightforward and edible. Every main item was a single price, which just made choosing the meal so much easier and straightforward.

Wednesday was tourist day. We headed up the line to Orakei Korako and to Wai o Tapu Thermal parks. They were quite pricey, but hey, we were on holiday! I took endless photos of these locations, and ended up out of battery. But I decided that I’d make a good person to go around such natural tourist attractions and take photos for their promotional material and souvenirs.
In the evening, we arrived back at Wharewaka in time for the sunset. We headed down to the lake at about 4:30pm to a location I’d found during the dawn photoshoot. Whilst there, another photographer turned up and pulled out all his gear for setting up a landscape timelapse of the mountains. It was pretty impressive. Turns out he is Bevan Percival, an amateur videographer who a few months back released a 4minute video of his work, and even got a mention on Stuff for it. It was good to meet someone new with the same interests.

Thursday was our last day in Taupo. We went Mini Golfing at the two courses in Taupo. It was good to be out in the sun and putting. The second course was very full, and so it took us well over an hour to get through the whole course. But, in the end, Vicky equalled the top women’s score for the day, and I was 2 shots away from the top men’s score for the day.

Friday we travelled home in awkward traffic. It was horrid. But we did stop in at the Tongariro National Trout Centre, and even saw Graeme Sinclair of “Gone Fishin'” TV fame. In the end, it was good to be home.






It was a celebratory trip to Staglands with Vicky. With the Mini safely back in my hands, it was time for a road trip.

We headed out to Staglands, and then continued on out across the Akatarera’s to Lindale, Paraparaumu and to Plimerton for Dinner.

These are some of the old rustic photos I took of the wildlife passed away.





Today is the first day of the year.

As a family (with soon to be Sister-in-Law and Vicky!) we headed up to the Rimutaka Incline. Nicola, Bridget and Stu were going to be biking over the journey, and Vicky, Mum, Dad and myself were just going for the trip up there.

The Mini survived! It was awesome!

Although, there are less ‘picnic-y’ spots up there than I remembered.


New Years


New Years Eve is always awesome. Ever since I’ve known Vicky, we’ve cruised up to her place and had a BBQ supper with a Brasier. This year was no different. Only difference was, we had to bring along an LP of some sort to keep us entertained through the night. Whilst there were meant to be a few more bodies turn up, this was okay, because enough people showed up for a good time and good banter.




Opening your eyes to a brand new world is never easy. It can be terrifying when you reflect on your own world. But it can also make you humbly grateful for the privileged life you do lead.

On the one hand, you are a mere bee in the thriving hive called Earth. The 15mins of fame you dream of is a distant relative no one sees or talks to. There is no chance your art, your website, nor your music will get you anywhere in the world of fame. You are one out of four million New Zealanders visiting a city of four million, and no one will know that you have made a mark.

On the other hand you have a world famous church adding to the musical taste of contemporary music meeting each week. All signs would suggest that their congregation is actually smaller than a similarly focussed church in our home town. A church that when I first went was only about the size that our current church is at today. (Not that the size of your church has anything to do with it!)

When you have a city of four million, there are obviously going to be some less fortunate than yourself. The drug addict, alcoholic, the homeless and the depressed. The mentally ill, physically ill and the pennyless. These people have a world view of less claim to fame than myself. They’re most likely not going to get the chance to visit another country, let alone another city. They don’t even have the opportunity to dread a family Christmas dinner. They don’t have endless happy photographs smiling flawlessly from countless photo albums.

Jesus came to seek and save the lost. He didn’t come with the mission of being famous. He didn’t come to travel the world and collate memories. He came to bring rest for the restless, food for the hungry, clothes for the naked and shelter for the homeless. He came to give hope to those that could find no hope left in their lives. He came to give life to those that were socially, mentally, emotionally and spiritually dead.

What difference can I make?

I am but one person visiting a city of 4 million.
I am but one person who hails from a country of 4 million.
I am but one person who lives in a city of 90 thousand.
I am but one person working in a town of 30 thousand.
I am but one person in a school of 200.
I am one teacher in a class of 30 students.
I am one leader of a Boys Brigade company of 25 boys.
I am one member of a worship team of 10.

I am only one person.

But I don’t have to change the whole world. Jesus has already done that.

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The door creaked open.
The empty darkness enclosed by the room wait with arms wide open for the waiting stubbed toe of the strangers left foot.

Lately I have been a stranger in two completely different abodes. And although I have yet to stub my toe in either of them, it is often how I feel upon entering the strange locations; waiting for it to happen.

Last weekend I wrote bout my escapade up to Raurimu. It was a weekend spent away from it all. Up at Raurimu, time seems to stand still if not go backwards. The walls are filled with nostalgic photos of earlier pioneers, fond memories and better times. The wood style home stands amongst nature, and you get a real sense of living. Short of no electricity, this place is removed from everything that busy’s our lives.

This weekend I have been asked to house-sit at my pastor’s place. It is completely different, although possibly serves the same purpose as Raurimu, in that I am able to distance myself from the week that awaits. The place is modern, with a view over the city I love, and is kitted out with technology to boot.

It occurred to me that either of these locations, I could quite happily live in. One, with the backwards clock spinning slowly on the wall, there is time to paint, time to reflect, time to be with nature and time to be with God. In the other, I am sitting contempt in a sofa ergonomically perfect for my awkwardly lengthed limbs, typing through a wireless connection to my website and watching background DVD’s.

As I begin to get older, and start to mould my opinion of the style of living I want. Either of the two weekends I could have quite happily spent the rest of my life at. I am aware and genuinely humbled that I have been blessed with even being able to make a choice like that. Many people don’t. Many people won’t get any choice in how they live, what they live in, or the style of sofa they would get to relax in, let alone watch a DVD in the background. I will forever thank God for this.

Be thankful for what you have, worry for nothing, and let tomorrow come when it is ready.