As I am still on holiday and likewise my youngest son we decided to do another road trip, this time our destination was Auckland, a one and a half hour drive on a good day from Hamilton.
I was grateful to have a driver as Auckland is our biggest city in NZ and bloody busy. Not sure I am ready for Motorway driving!! With the help of google maps on my phone we made our way to the city centre and parked in an underground car park right below our first destination.
Up out of the car park to the Aotea Square, what a vibrant place it was too, and the weather was stunning.
In the Aotea Centre The Art of Banksy exhibition was on and for the $37.50 per person I thought it was worth every bit of the entrance price. You were allowed to take photos as long as you didn't use your flash. So here we go!!
It was bloody awesome, so if you cannot get to this you sort of just have, with me. You are most welcome!!
We decided to go for a bit of a wander like tourists in our own country once again. We passed a very cool community garden and an old Church, both I thought were very cool.
Destination number two was The Sky Tower. All 328 metres (1076 feet) of it just beckoning us to go up.
OMG!!! The worst part was waiting in the que to purchase tickets for the lift ($29 each). I am so glad I went up, fricken amazing, even the lift with the glass bit in the floor, no I didn't look down, but I did look out the glass door as we literally whizzed up past the buildings at a super fast pace.
It took just over two years to build and cost $85million to construct!! The views were spectacular. I think I would like to go back again early evening and watch Auckland light up.
From there we headed back to the car and again with the help of google we made our way through the busy streets to The Auckland Domain to go to theAucklandWar Memorial Museum on one of the many hills. As NZ residents our entrance price was a donation. I have not been here since a high school art trip - yeah that long ago!! This Neo Classical building was opened in November 1929 and cost 250 pounds to build.
Three floors of amazing permanent displays and special exhibitions that you could easily spend an entire day mooching about taking is all in. We didn't have an entire day but we saw most of it. Such a gorgeous building inside.
Loads of interesting and thought provoking and emotional War History.
Natural and NZ History.
The most amazing Crown Lynn Display,
gorgeous old furniture and clothing.
A massive collection of Maori artifacts in a long space with a gorgeous ceiling.
Vintage toys and household things and of course dear old Rahja the Elephant. In 1936 amid fears he was becoming more dangerous (untamed at the Auckland Zoo) he was executed by a zoo keeper. It took over 7 months to have him stuffed and then he went on exhibit at the Museum. I remember seeing him as a small child and being so fascinated.
From the Museum we went to check out The Winter Gardens also in The Domain. Construction on the two large glass houses started in1916 and they were opened in 1928.
The last time I visited these I was a young girl so it was nice to return as an adult and appreciate it all.
Then it was time to find the motorway and head south back to Hamilton. We had a fabulous time in Auckland with me ticking off a few more Tourist destinations on my 'Playing Tourist in my own Country' list.
Last week I was driving out to Wairere Nursery to buy a tree when I had a light bulb moment!! I decided I would go past the Nursery and carry on to visit Woodlands Historical Homestead. When I say Historical you will think super old but New Zealand is still a very young country. But it is old enough and worthy enough to be registered with NZ Historical Places Trust. Worthy of a visit in my mind.
This is the picture on the leaflet you get at the Homestead outlining the history and what functions and events can be held at the function rooms. The last time I visited this was years ago, the lads were only young boys then and we went with my parents.
In 1875 the Homestead was built as the managers residence for the estate, then 98,000 acres that was purchased at five shillings an acre.
As you enter through the front door your eye is drawn to the beautiful old Kauri Staircase, in fact according to my leaflet most of the house was made from Kauri.
The day I visited the staff were packing up the decorations from the Christmas display, but apart from them I had the home to myself. See the old organ in the corner?
The last time I was there my Dad pretended to play it much to the amusement of my boys. He had such a good sense of humour and fun.
The wood paneling on the walls and ceiling in this room made it quite dark, but still very lovely. How small are my boys in that photo. I love all the doors that lead outside to the garden.
From the sitting room you walk through to the little dining room. I was quite taken with the tiny sewing machine on the mantle.
In the dining room these stairs led down to what I presume is a cellar. These photos are not my best work, I only had my little camera and the sun was doing it's very best to shine through.
The kitchen was adorable, well everything about this little Homestead was. I could easily move in.
Who doesn't like an old claw footed bath!!
Then it was upstairs to have a poke around up there.
On the wall there were framed hand made clothing as well as loads of old photos and the dead animal!
This bedroom was so pretty, with beautiful views out the windows.
By 1905 the Homestead block was only 2,400 acres as land was sold off over the years. The young bride above is Irene Riddell, oh how this photo of her reminds me of my Nanas wedding photo. How spectacular is her bouquet!! The Homestead stayed in the Riddell family until 1988 when farm consultants and family representatives form a committee. Eventually the Homestead and surrounding 15 acres was accepted by the council for public use and is now administered by the Gordonton Woodlands Trust Board.
This bedroom was also beautiful. I imagine this little girl running about upstairs.
So many gorgeous old treats to feast on, the clock was among some of my favourites.
A narrow hall led down to what is now called an Administration room. Seeing the Spinning Wheel made me think how this year I should dust mine off and start spinning again.
I was very tempted by the old suitcases!!
Wonder if they would have missed them?
This little bedroom with its slanted roof was too cute.
Behind that tree is a shelf made from an old wrought iron bed end.
Then it was back down the stairs and outside to wander the garden. First I walked under a Wisteria covered pergola.
No wonder Weddings are held out there, the gardens are perfect for those special photos.
You can follow the gravel paths, cross wooden bridges and just enjoy being out in the sunshine and gardens.
What a glorious view of the Homestead from the Gazebo, a really nice spot to sit and rest a while from the sun, it was HOT!!
Back over another bridge.
Even armed with this map I managed to get myself lost and end up in a STAFF ONLY area!
I think a fountain like that would be spectacular in my garden!!
I am so glad I visited the Homestead again, next time I will have lunch at the cafe which wasn't open. The cafe is the old cricket pavilion, far too cute.
I have been living in cotton dresses and this one is so tropical that I decided before I had even had breakfast and brushed my hair that I needed a floral wreath. Of course I shared it.
Next thing it was the last day of 2017, so some Wave Envy was required for an evening out at Raglan.
And of course a stamp and garden message was required!! I have a thing for Hydrangeas as you can see from my flowers.
(photo borrowed off the internet)
Our destination was a dinner date at the Raglan Harbour View Hotel. A 19th century Villa built in 1903. Tow previous pubs had burned down on this site, the first was built in 1866, this is something I did not know. The Hotel is also registered with the NZ Historical Places Trust. TOF and I met our friends at their home and walked down to the pub to meet our other friends.
Every New Years Eve Raglan has a Street Parade, which the crowd enjoyed.
There was even a Hog on a Hog, as in a large PIG on the back of a Harley motorbike, a total crowd pleaser was he with his goggles and all.
Grant, TOF and Murray - Me, Sharon and Diane. Our Raglan crew. Our table was just inside where the guys are and our meal was delicious. I had baked goats cheese on Ciabatta with NZ honey drizzled on it with flame grilled bacon with a side salad. YUMO!!! Pretty good for pub grub.
These labels were pasted over the top of the beer brands which I rather liked. After dinner we slowly wandered back up the hill to our friends place. A bit of drinking took place and some fireworks were let off. Then we had a marathon game of Cards Against Humanity!! The funniest game ever, somewhat filthy so you need to know your fellow players pretty well, hahahahahaha!! We saw the New Year in watching a brilliant Firework Display from our friends deck, and finally headed home round 2:30am. A late night for these old folk for sure, but a bloody good one. I sure hope you enjoyed farwelling one year and welcoming in the new one.