Sunday, 5 May 2013

Went to a tree museum where they charged (more than) a dollar and a half to see them!

Day 1 of 14 duck shooting!

We had been warned “duck season starts tomorrow” true enough the camp was full of men in camoflage waders and big gun dogs. We were slightly worried for their own well being as obviously a few beers were imbibed that evening, but that’s their look out! Due to the noise, I had put my earplugs in (only the second time since we’ve been here) though apparently they went quiet 5 mins later, but it did mean I wasn’t awakened in the pre dawn light as they left and then by the noise of the guns!

Headed off to the Kauri museum, now I wouldn’t normally get excited by going to a tree museum, but we were worried Robyn may not let us back across the threshold if we didn’t, and it was ‘highly recommended’ by a woman I’d spoken to 10 days ago, an even the Rough Guide to NZ says ‘you have to go’. 

Maungaraho Rock, doesn't it look fab!
We had a slight deviation to Maungaraho Rock scenic reserve – well it was a rock! Looked fab, there must be some climbing up there, and a great scramble, so with no info, and the dampness from the overnight rain we plumped for the scramble round which eventually wound its way to the summit, sadly it was terribly overgrown, the big black cloud was moving towards us, but the gunfire over our heads and the noise of the ‘duck squawker’ was the final straw – next time we go out in shooting season, although I was in pink (surprise) remind B not to go out in grey, but to plump for red! 
Scrambly bits up
Discretion being the better part of valour we retreated to the van, just as the heavens opened! The heavy rain continued, all the way to the museum, and all the time we were in the museum, finally abating just before we left! Perfect activity for the day.

A 'swamp' Kauri carved into a chair
It was a great museum, we were there for hours, but still couldn’t absorb everything, it started off with the manequins all being made from moulds of locals faces, with a brief resume of their family history, on a Wednesday, the volunteers come in and ‘tinker’ to restore and ‘improve’ the exhibits. We learnt all about the Kauri tree – the second largest tree in the world, used not just ‘fresh’ but 1000’s of years old from the swamps too, and about gum, what would, in time, be amber but is currently very soft, but polishes to amazing beauty. 

A Kauri trunk, marked with specific dates 
Enlarged view of trunk showing a span of 127 years

It again was either collected from live trees – “cut me and I will bleed” as rubber is collected, but also from the ‘gumfields’ where long dead trees ‘bled’ into the ground. Like gold miners, gum miners would turn up on the field with a spike and a shovel, and dig. It was used decoratively but also practically as varnish and then the poor bits went to make lino! Our brains were just about full, when a tannoy came out about the free tour, so we thought give it a go, an hour later after a private guided tour with a really interesting lady giving us the ‘personal touch’ we really were full, so off to the campsite in the town.

Thought this amusing. Look at the note underneath..........
Isn't it so much better than saying 'Out of Order'!

B was just moving from spot A to spot B (it’s always a balance of proximity to facilities, view, etc) when the cat trotted out of the bushes. She was in the van drinking milk before the kettle was even on! Her name is Bubble, she’s 17, belonged to the owners daughter, won’t live in the house as she hates the dog, was very fluffy and needed a trim, which I mentioned, and was presented with comb and scissors! I did my best, but she still needs more attention!

This must be one of my favourite photos. The caption must be: thinks "I don't like fruit!"
Attack of the chickens!
We’ve spent today getting to possibly scenic places, thought about getting out of the van, only to get back in again as the rain has come down! Still we can’t complain as we’ve worked out that in the 6 months we’ve had less than a dozen days rain!

A 'scenic' waterfall somewhere on the way....
We did manage to time arriving at the Alpaca 'open day' just after a downpour, so we didn't get wet, sadly the alpaca already were! I said I didn't want to buy an alpaca, we'd just come for a look, so he gave me a bucket of food and took us outside! They were very cute, but really wanted the food - I felt slightly overawed as every way I turned someone would manage to stick their head in the bucket! Still there are far worse ways to spend 10 mins!

Oh yes, and we’ve just had the best news, the job Helen thought she hadn’t got, she has! WOO HOO, go girlxx

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