Thursday, March 31, 2016 distances again

Thursday, March 31, 2016 1
oldbearnews editor

I have done something similar before:


It is time to revisit the distances and put it in some sort of practical context our northern folks can come to grips with!!

We tend to under-estimate how LONG New Zealand really is.

Google map tells us that to drive from Bluff in the deep south to the Cape Reinga  in the far north you will cover 2081km and drive for 28 hours - urm - non-stop, no toilet break, no sightseeing, no souvenir shopping etc.  (and I am not sure if that includes the distance / time spent on the ferry to get from the south to the north Island!!!)

That is the same distance it is from Christchurch (in a direct line of flight) to Sydney - by 50km short - urm - you might have to swim the last 50 km!
If I leave Salzburg and head south - I would have to go almost all the way to Ankara (2213km)

If you leave Hamburg you be almost in Madrid ( 2172km)

The shortest and most direct route from Salzburg to Stockholm (where my Uncle lives) is 1775km (or 1892km)
and I remember this trip well, as I am sure, are several of my relatives, who made the same trip at different times!!

For our USA folks  --  If you were to leave New York in the States you could travel equivalent distance to Miami or Kansas city!

All the while New Zealand is a narrow country - very similar to Italy.  The furtherest you would have to go, in order to meet the Ocean is 119.44km!!!!
Same (or less??) distance as Salzburg to Linz in Austria!
The location of that point surprised me - I was thinking somewhere around Taupo - rather it is in the South Island.  *grins* - of course - good ol' South Island


Snipped txt --> 
The position of the "unofficial most inland point" is S4500.340', E16922.245', 119.44km from the Tasman Sea at Milford Sound and 119.44km from the Pacific Ocean, near Hampden.  It is 1km south of Castle Rock and 7km north of Leaning Rock on the Dunstan Range, on the property of Northburn Station owner Tim Pinckney.
"Nowhere else in New Zealand is a piece of land so far from a coast. Unfortunately, this point is at a very inaccessible part of the country," Mr Brown said. The point was about 1500m above sea level and provided spectacular views to Lake Hawea and Alexandra, but was an all-day tramp or a rugged ride in a four-wheel-drive vehicle, he said. Although there were nearby tracks and a conservation area, Mr Brown said it was best for any visitors to check with both farmers to make sure they were not going to disrupt farming operations.
For a large part of the year, the terrain would be virtually impassible, he said. "You would have to be outdoors equipped. It is not a casual afternoon's drive."

This of course does not take into account several Islands of shore!!
The northernmost point is often thought to be Cape Reinga, but this is instead the northwesternmost point. Similarly, Bluff is often considered to be the southernmost point of the South Island, although The Bluff itself (the promontory which gives the town its name) is actually fractionally further north than Slope Point. The phrase "From Cape Reinga to The Bluff" is, however, frequently used within New Zealand to refer to the whole country, ignoring both Slope Point and some offshore islands.   www.List_of_extreme_points_of_New_Zealand

 Anyhow - our son just started a 5 year stint in the UK and mamabear wanted to know the latitude compared to and with New Zealand, so - I paper-copied the shape of NZ and marked the 45th Latitude line and then tried to place it appropriately on the same map on Europe.


Yeah - surprise all-right
Stewart Island would be bang on the Austrian City of Graz and it goes south (urm - closer to the Equator) from there!!
Hope he will enjoy the LONGER summer nights!!
Also he likes the cold - so he is in a good place for the northern winters. 
I noted too that Cape Reinga is almost on the Tripoli coast.  If you flick the NZ image round  - the South Island covers almost all of Italy and our North Island covers the Entire Ionian Sea! 
Now as to the weather pattern being similar - that is an entire different ball game . . . . . .

Anyhow - this was a fun stat exercise!! Back to the mundane housework

Have fun! bear print

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Coromandel trip 2016 - or - checking out paradise to chill out in

Thursday, March 17, 2016 0
oldbearnews editor

Thursday 17 March

Well - after 10 days - we had to come home - not that we wanted to! Especially when we heard the temps down in Christchurch! Sighs - still we have to - if nothing else just to earn the $$$ to be able to buy a house up here in the future!!
Anyhow - usual up and brekkie, then came the hard part - packing the suitcase - along with the extras we gained (2 bottles of liquid and about 15 or so sea-shells and also not forgetting mamabears purple extras!!!)
We had to drop the key back to the camping ground and soon found out that we did had a bit of rain overnight - 80ml in just 2 hours!! I knew - I lay awake during most of it - considering the NOISE on the roof and what it would do to the Road conditions! The camping ground already was flooded - about 30cm deep (a foot to you non-metric folks).

rain radar map from our travel day -
blue and purple indicate cold ergo - heavy rain

Got to the petrol station and the lady there half guessed where we were heading and advised that the road south was closed due to flooding!  We have seen the road markers for the last few days going past them - they are colour coded in order of depth - to indicate how deep the water was running and if there was still safe passage possible.  Nothing like in Queensland of course - but still - NOT letting you go through or past. 
We had already decided to go the long way home  I F  the weather had been fine - now we had no choice!! Hmmm do you think we would get away with an extra night here claiming road closures? ? ? ? ?
Anyhow - it was an exciting trip round the long way - LOTS of water on the road and the occasional rock-slide.   At times we had a 2-5 meter wide and about 2-4 cm deep river running across the road.  As long as it was clear water we were good - once it gets discolored brown - you almost can count on rocks and or mud following the water! 

The impossible happened  which I was 100% sure it could and would never happen - we were forced to follow a motorcyclist round the bends - in FIRST gear! Talk about over cautious driving!!  Eventually he saw the wisdom and went into a lay-by and let the 14 cars banked up behind him pass.  Once we were on the west-side of the peninsular the rain eased of but still wet and miserable and you could never be sure if there was a rock-slide waiting for you around the next corner.  Made it to Thames by lunchtime and decided to have another of the Colonel's chickens only to hear on their internal radio broadcast that BOTH (and there are only two) roads from Whitianga are closed due to mudslides! The town is cut off!!!
It must have happened 10 minutes ( no less) after we went past a particular spot!!! Guess we were very lucky!  Urm - Bugger  :)
Very Lucky indeed!  I think Mamabear is still having kittens when she remembers this particular drive!

Below are two news articles we found once we got home - seems it just did rain a bit!!
Of course - given the right conditions in New Zealand anywhere - it can rain up to 300ml in a day!!! Or more!!  As one tourist in Franz Joseph recently described it - it is like the fire fighters are using their hose to dowse the roof!!! The lady in the shop at Franz Joseph once remarked that "it can rain so heavy that you cannot see the store across the road" -  some 25 meters away!!!  Awesome to see - freighting to contemplate!

We had a bit of spare time so stopped at the Thames gold mine,  and took the tour! They take you "20" meters underground (I am sure it was more then that) and show you how the gold was mined previously! There is more gold there - it is just locked up inside the rocks and you need to crush them first before you get ever so tiny wee specks of yellow dust!  Still if the Gold price jumps a few % points upwards - it could be economically worth re-opening the mines.
Historically speaking Thames once was the largest town in New Zealand - for a short time only - that is - until the gold run out!

From there it was onwards to the Airport and a short plane ride back home to cold wet drizzly Christchurch!  Saw our PM coming out the gate!!
Hihihihi also one of the executive drivers doing a pick-up of a passenger had a sign up for CHER!!!! hmmmm surely not?!?!??

  Anyhow - thus finished our trip north! Plenty of ideas for retirement and when my sister comes for a visit.  Sounds like we will get back there next year - LUCKY us!!!! yusssssss

It does look better in sunshine!!!!

The hard work underground depicted via models

The tunnels are not particular tall - so suitable for shorter persons - and - note - NO safety helmets!!!!

Hard rock - granite - and all extracted by hand and hammer

hmmmmm - you know - perfect for a wine-cellar!!!!!

Cyah next year Whitianga!!!!

Have fun! bear print

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Coromandel trip 2016 - or - checking out paradise to chill out in

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 0
oldbearnews editor

Wednesday 16 March

A lot of lasts today! Last one up and last one of the property (workers and guests have all left already). We decided to visit the local winery so had leisurely drive towards that – but first stop the drive across the peninsula (and the ferry crossing on the other side of the Whitianga harbour!!) Felt funny driving there having walked there the other day and yes - it takes AGES (about 45 minutes)  to get there by car! There is no bridge across the Harbour so you have to drive around it - and it goes inland for miles

Then back up and out towards Hahei for lunch and then some wine tasting!

Interesting chap there - local native and we had lots of laughs! Eventually bought two bottles then drove slowly back towards “home”.  We made THAT mistake again - should have visited the winery on the first day - then we could have enjoyed one of their elixirs on a daily basis!  Sighs - must be a slow learner!!!!
Our last chill out time on the porch in the sun and then back for one last 'dip and dine' experience – again very nice!  Had to go back and drop back a compression stocking we picked up by mistake (thinking we took one of mine accidentally there).  Dinner was very nice (roast Pork) .  Now back at motel and catch up and eventually sleep – packing tomorrow and making our way back to Chch – todays temps  Whitianga 27degrees – Christchurch 12 degrees!  Someone remind me why we are heading in that direction?!?!?!?!?!!?
Last night here – and we had a decent sunset and also a decent rainbow and now it just pours with rain - for the first time!! 
wohooo - we have been so lucky with the weather!!

aha - trick question - do you KNOW where this beach is ??  A chocolate fish as prize to the first correct comment
 We treated ourselves to a lunch meal out and I found these Banana/bacon/maple syrup/ creamed -pancakes and I was def going to enjoy this one - so when Mamabear asks " can you please look like you are enjoying this . . . . . . . " only to happy to oblige
yumm, yumm
 Another beach, another toe-dip thing for Mamabear, another rest in the shade . . . . .

 A typical New Zealand Summer holiday image . . . . . .
comes under the "wish you are here with me" category  :)

There are these clouds - harbingers of rain me thinks . . . . .

I was to late - by the time I grabbed my gear and headed to the beach - the rainbow had moved behind the hill - it was right down to thew water (spotted from car as we came home)

Our last evening on holiday

As the sun set - the pink got higher and higher . . .

Have fun! bear print

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Coromandel trip 2016 - or - checking out paradise to chill out in

Tuesday, March 15, 2016 0
oldbearnews editor

Tuesday 15 March

Usual up and clean and out! First stop the local bakery for lunch supplies, then on towards New Chums Beach – rated as one of the Top 10 Beaches in the world – so we had to check this one out!


You have to cross a stream and a 30 min hike across or rather along the rocky/boulders sea shore  at LOW tide, - then across a little hump and down the other side and hey presto – New Chums Beach.  Mamabear having fun clambering over the boulders!  Like most beaches – very remote –  and  N O  repeat no facilities there at all!  Nearest toilet is 30 min back from where you came from!  :)   Just in case you urm need to be reminded of the ethics of leave nothing behind except footprints etc . . . .

We sat in the shade under a pohutukawa tree and enjoyed the air/sea etc and as well as the flora and fauna.  Saw one yellow eyed gannet dive-bombing for his lunch!!
MB could have stayed all day and night!!  Eventually back via short stop on two more beaches and back to base – quick re-arrangement and chill out then out for Greek dinner – VERY nice!! Post dinner the usual “must walk of the extra pounds gained” on beach walk – 2 km in one direction – 2 km back – all in surf!! Water feeling warm.
Now back in our unit and planning for next day – our last day here! We  a r e  going to do the 'dip and dine' again!! (yusssss) -  something to look forward too!

Looking out from under the shade of the Pohutukawa tree!

Mamabear resting under the Pohutukawa Tree

I took my compression stockings off to urm even up the tan - and sat in the shade - mostly I thought! Even then - I ended up with some colourful red .  Sighs



 This lass - to the amusement of the half dozen people on the beach - had climbed to the top, then proceeded to take selfies - for about a good 15 minutes (various angles etc)!
Good for her - she did not fall down!! Eventually she came down to the beach had a look for less then 20 seconds and buggered of.  Me thinks she got the wrong priorities . . . . . 
 You can swim there if you know how to dodge the sea-life . . . . .
 The sparkling sea -
On the way back we came across this little poser.  Luckily for me he stood perfectly still for about 20 minutes . . . . 

We finished the day with the usual evening stroll on the beach. Hmm did we go every day?? Think so

 Have fun! bear print

Monday, March 14, 2016

Coromandel trip 2016 - or - checking out paradise to chill out in

Monday, March 14, 2016 0
oldbearnews editor

Monday 14 March

Usual up – although given last nights (11pm-ish) nocturnal noises coming from one of lovebirds in one of the other units next door to us - a sleep-in might have been nice.  ^.^
On second thoughts - these noises sounded urm = pathetic.  The wicked in me suggested we download some decent 10 min porno-track and then play that back as loud as possible  ^.^   Reminds me of a similar experience we had in San Francisco with paper-thin walls . . . . .

Anyhow - sleep eventually came late and we woke early . . . . .
No sign of the nocturnal love birds from next door . . . .

Cathedral cave from the sea

Thus - brekkie & clean etc as usual then on to the road and meet our skipper of the Sea-cave adventure – a 2.something hour boat ride along the Coromandel coast – heading past Cooks Beach and almost all the way to Hot Water beach – plenty to see and enjoy!! The sea was  VERY clear – you can see down to 15 meters below! wohoooo

Also saw plenty of the locals (Snapper)!! And - no - you cannot fish those - they are inside and part of the local marine reserve.

The beauty of the cruise was that
A - you got there directly - the whole round journey took just over two hours - while by car it takes  more like 3 hours total and
B -  you got to see some things you would never see if you just walked along the coast line - to many caves and cliffs you can see / access only by boat! Indeed some you can enter only in high tide - and yes we were lucky that day!
Saw an amazing blow-hole.  As we were on a inflatable Zodiac - I didn't want to take all my camera gear - so Cell-phone it was and also - I am sure - he would have refused me spending 20 minutes setting up and snapping away from the little inside beach that was . . . . .

Enterprising chap I am - I filched some pictures from the Internet as pictorial reminders.
One of these days - I may have to go back and book a boat exclusively . . . .  Hmnmmm

To soon we were back home so strolled to bakery and had late lunch then past some shops in a semi exploring rate / need to get some stuff for dinner mode!!

Had a 2km stroll along the beach again to cool down the legs and freshen up!  Love these reflections!!!

A picture from NZ Tourism??  and yes - it does look this stunning.  Hmmmm wonder what kind of lens they took to get to this image??? 
Fish eye?

Same hole - different photographer . . . .

:P  yes of course - I SWAM away from the boat along with my camera and took this!  Honest!

Mamabears image- looking back out to sea.

Technically I understand how they got to this image!! A part of me wanted to try and do this as well - alas we didn't make time for a extended visit.  There is always a next time and I KNOW my Sister wants to go there next year  ^.0  yusssss

Local birds of the feathered variety on the look out for a free snack

Thats not half of it!! Thought of Martina and her efforts in Akaroa! :)
Anyhow - every time we stroll along in the surf I find a whole (unbroken) shell and since they are so colorful - I pick one up and take it back to the motel.  Mamabear says I can take ONLY one per day back to Christchurch.  We shall see :)

We eventually made it back to our Motel late afternoon for some more chill time and then cooked dinner and had afters - urm - dessert!!   Wino fino is still great!

Have fun!

PS - Meant to add - Mamabear had already noticed but could not explain why so many houses had a tractor (sometimes old and rusty) parked either in their lean too or front lawn or some place.  Chap on the boat explained that many locals have posh cars - but not much towing grunt - so rather then risking salt water on their precious cars - they buy an old tractor and use that to drive the boat trailer into the sea and let loose their yacht or speed boat or rowing dinghy . . .  

Makes sense

Then once a year they "dress" up their old brumm brumm and have some fun - the tractor bash!!!

bear print
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