Driving on the Right around Moorea, Tahiti

Moorea, Tahiti

Belvedere Lookout

After relaxing for three days in my Fare I started to get itchy feet. So I decided to rent a car for three days from the owners of the Fare. Moorea is about 10 miles in width from the west to the east, it took me about one hour, twenty minutes to drive around the island. Driving on the right, with the steering wheel on the left was challenging, but the roads were quiet and the speed limit is 65km.

I had one bad experience where I drove for about thirty five minutes to find a restaurant that was open.  It gets dark at 6.30pm and the time I finished dinner it was dark and started to rain quite heavily, there is hardly any street lights and I couldn’t see a thing. It was very scary but I made it back safely to the Fare.

As I was driving around the island it seemed like every corner I turned there was another amazing Jagged Volcanic Mountain.  The scenery was stunning.

Moorea, Tahiti

Moorea, Tahiti

The first European to arrive on the island were Englishman Samuel Wallis and James Cook. Captain James Cook first settled on Tahiti and then he took his ship with Samuel Wallis and went onward to Mo’orea. He first landed in ‘Ōpūnohu Bay, Cook’s Bay was later named in his honor.


Opunohu Bay, Moorea, Tahiti

Opunohu Bay

Parts of the 1984 movie ‘The Bounty’ (starring Mel Gibson) was filmed in Opunohu Bay.

Moorea, Tahiti

Moorea, Tahiti

Moorea, Tahiti

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Staying in a Tahitian Fare, Moorea, French Polynesia


I booked this Fare through Airbnb, located on a French couples property on the Island of Moorea. Tahiti is known to be very expensive but this Fare was reasonably priced including breakfast and transfers to the ferry.

The Fare was made from natural materials including a traditional thatched roof.  The deck area was also a combined living area where you could enclose it with folding windows.  Bedroom and bathroom was separate and also had an extra bedroom on a mezanne floor. The property located on top of a hill had a beautiful garden of tropical plants, fruit trees and chickens.

I stayed in the Fare for six nights, the first three days it was quite overcast,  but I was happy to just relax read books, do some painting and catch up on some sleep. The breakfast’s were delicious and I had enough left over for lunch, yummy French Bread and Cheese.

Pineapples growing on the ground

Amazing breakfasts, hand made french pastries, tropical fruits, yogurt and honey

Beautiful Tropical Garden

My lovely bedroom

Bird of Paradise

The Driveway

Windows folded down


Banana’s growing in the garden


In response to The Daily Post Photography Challenge Solitude

My Suburb ‘Beachhaven’ Waitemata Harbour Auckland

Beachhaven Waitemata Harbour AucklandBeachhaven, Waitemata Harbour, Auckland

Beachhaven situated on a peninsula at the end of the Waitemata Harbour, Auckland.  I have lived in this suburb for eleven years. Our local harbour beach has some lovely sunsets, I have spent many summer evenings here with friends for a barbeque and drinks.

Beachhaven, Waitemata Harbour, Auckland

Beachhaven Auckland

Beachhaven, Waitemata Harbour, Auckland Beachhaven is situated on a peninsula at the end of the Waitemata Harbour, Auckland. I have lived in this suburb for eleven years.

In the summer there is yacht races every Wednesday evening and Sunday mornings.

Beachhaven, Waitemata Harbour, Auckland Beachhaven is situated on a peninsula at the end of the Waitemata Harbour, Auckland. I have lived in this suburb for eleven years.

This play boat named ‘Children of Beachhaven’ was restored in 1970 by a man named Frank Larkin.  He transported metres of sand from across the harbour in his boat.  Moored with a rope and tied to a tree on the beach, children can pull on the rope to maneuver the boat.

Beachhaven Auckland

A painting I entered into an Art Competition.  ‘Beachhaven Sunrise’

In response to The Daily Post Photo Challenge  Local

Samoan Culture and Traditions, Savaii, Samoa

Savaii, Samoa

Whilst we were staying at Lauiula Beach Fales, Lano Beach the young man who worked on the fales invited us to watch him cook some traditional Samoan food.  He made a dish called Palusami which is taro, coconut cream and onion wrapped in taro leaves.  He prepared the fire first named a Umu using coconut shells, then adding stones. When they were hot enough he added the Palusami which took about 40mins.

Savaii, Samoa


While the food was cooking he gave a demonstration on how to extract the milk from a coconut, using a handmade coconut grating stool.

Savaii, Samoa


He invited us to church on Sunday, my sons werent that keen so I went on my own.  Each village has its own church and there seemed to be a church on every corner. They are usually painted in bright colours and families dress up for the service. I was invited into the pastor’s house which was behind the church and his wife made me a coffee.  We then went to the church service, which was all in Samoan.  There was music and singing which was beautiful.

You can read more on Samoan Culture and Traditions here

Below is a few pics of my three sons:

Savaii, Samoa

Son No. 3

Savaii, Samoa

Son No. 2

Savaii, Samoa

Son No. 1

White Water Rafting Kawarau River Queenstown New Zealand

White Water Rafting on the Kawarau River and one of the movie sets for ‘Lord of the Rings’

White Water Rafting Kawerau

Me sitting front right ‘Screaming’

Many years ago I worked for a tour a tourist information center, part of my job was to travel in New Zealand. I traveled by bus with a group for a week around the South Island.

One of the activities was White Water Rafting, in Queenstown. It sounded quite scary but decided to give it a go as I had already declined the bungy jumping. White Water Rafting is fantastic in New Zealand, but I hear it’s pretty awesome in places like California as well. So if you live in the SoCal area and you’re looking for a fun group activity, then you might want to have a look at somewhere like americanwhitewater.com/california/so-cal so you can set up a day on the water.

There are 6 grades for white water rafting, we did grade 1, for 1 hour, a small part of the Kawerau River. I was the last person to get on the raft this was a big mistake as there was only a seat left at the front of the raft. When the boat goes over a rapid it creates a wave, so sitting at the front you get the full impact of the water hitting you in the face.

I was terrified of falling into the river and held on tightly to the ropes. The raft did not flip and no-one went overboard.

Although it was scary I am pleased I did it, definitely a adrenaline activity!

White Water Rafting Kawerau River Queenstown


Pillars of the Kings, Kawarau River, South Island

Kawarau River starred as the River Anduin in Lord of the Rings, so it’s like paddling through Middle Earth.

The Argonath or Pillars of the Kings scene was shot just 100 meters upstream of Kawarau bridge. The Pillars themselves were computer-generated.



Visiting Milford Sound, South Island, New Zealand

I visited Milford Sound about 25 years ago.   We were going to fly one way from Queenstown and bus back, but unfortunately we couldn’t fly because of the weather.  So it was a long day busing both ways, it took about four hours each way from Queenstown.  The scenery is amazing as you mostly drive through rain forest.

We took a boat ride for two hours. It was a misty day with light rain, but created an eerie atmosphere.

The fiord remained undiscovered by Europeans until Captain John Grono discovered it c.1812 and named it Milford Haven after his homeland in Wales. Captain John Lort Stokes later renamed Milford Haven as Milford Sound.


Maori Myths

The Māori named the sound Piopiotahi after the thrush-like piopio bird, now extinct. Piopiotahi means “a single piopio”, harking back to the legend of Māui trying to win immortality for mankind – when Maui died in the attempt, a piopio was said to have flown here in mourning.

Milford Sound, South Island, New Zealand MILFORD SOUND SYLVIA 3 Milford Sound, South Island, New Zealand Milford Sound Milford Sound, South Island, New Zealand

Photo Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pixelsdumonde/

Snorkelling Trip, Savaii Samoa


Snorkeling Trip Savaii Samoa

My Three Sons

Snorkeling Trip, Savaii Samoa was one of the highlights of our trip.  Dive Samoa took us too three sites which included a ship wreck.  I hired an underwater camera and one of the diver’s took some photo’s.

I was comparing the fish and coral to the Great Barrier Reef, I went diving there a long time ago.  The coral didn’t seem as colorful and the fish were quite small.  However my boys thought it was fantastic as they had never seen colorful fish and coral before.

Snorkeling Trip Savaii Samoa

Snorkeling Trip Savaii Samoa

Snorkeling Trip Savaii Samoa

Snorkeling in Savaii Samoa

Snorkeling in Savaii Samoa

Snorkelling In Savaii SamoaSnorkeling in Savaii Samoa

Snorkelling In Savaii Samoa

Dive Savaii Samoa

We had lunch at Le Lagoto Resort while we were waiting for the photos.

Dive Savaii Samoa

Dive Savaii Samoa

Le Lagoto resort taken from the Dive Boat

Visiting Hobbiton in the Spring, New Zealand

Hobbiton New Zealand

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.  Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

Hobbiton New Zealand

Visiting Hobbiton in the Spring is one of the best time to visit.  Spring flowers are in bloom, which will die off in summertime with the higher temperatures.  Flowers and vegetables plants are based on a traditional cottage garden. The grass is cut in a certain way so it looks natural.  There are about seven gardeners working full-time to upkeep the grounds.

After the two-hour tour of the  Hobbit holes the last stop is the Green Dragon Inn, which is a pub, serving complimentary beer or cider which is brewed only for the Green Dragon Inn.

Don’t forget spare storage/batteries for your photos as you will be taking a lot of pictures

You get to visit Sam’s home, Bag End – Bilbo and Frodo’s house

The Hobbit homes are just facades – there is nothing inside them

Take plenty of water and sunscreen if visiting in summer

Tours are available from Rotorua and Matamata.  For more information on tours visit: http://www.hobbitontours.com/

Hobbiton New Zealand

Hobbiton New Zealand

Hobbiton New Zealand

Hobbiton New Zealand

Hobbiton New Zealand

Hobbiton New Zealand

Surrounding the 44 Hobbit holes, there are a variety of props such as clothes drying on clothes lines, smoke coming out of chimneys, mail boxes and outdoor furniture.


Hob 1

hob 2

Hobbiton New Zealand



hob 6


Travel Monkey

Swimming with Turtles in Savaii Samoa

Swimming with Turtles Savaii Samoa

Swimming with Turtles

Located in the village of Sato’alepai, Savaii, Samoa is one the tourist attractions in Savaii.  I wasn’t entirely happy with these turtles living in a pond although it was quite large.  I have since done some reading on the Green Turtle and apparently they are an endangered species.

Papaya is given to you to feed the turtles although not their normal diet they seemed to enjoy it.  There’s a lot worse they could eat such as plastic and rubbish.

Water flows through from an adjoining lagoon that is spring fed, which is why there is algae growing on their shells.

Swimming with Turtles Savaii Samoa

Sons No. 1 & 2 got in the pond straightaway, Son No. 3 took a bit longer.  I just sat on the edge of the pond and put my feet in the water.  These turtles have sharp beaks and I was scared of being bitten.

We did a snorkeling trip later on but we didn’t see any turtles in the ocean.

Swimming with Turtles Savaii Samoa

Swimming with Turtles Savaii Samoa

Swimming with Turtles Savaii Samoa

Mt Cook, Aoraki, South Island, New Zealand

Mt Cook Aoraki New Zealand

Mt Cook Aoraki New Zealand

Mt Cook known to Māori as Aoraki or Cloud Piercer Located in the heart of the Mackenzie region, Aoraki / Mount Cook National Park is part of UNESCO’s Te Wāhipounamu (The Place of Greenstone) World Heritage. Australasia’s highest mountain Aoraki / Mount Cook (3,724m) nestled in the splendid Southern Alps.

Several years ago I did a seven-day bus tour around the South Island. One of the stops on this tour was Mt Cook driving from Christchurch to Queenstown.  It was a long day as its 4 hours to Mt Cook and 3 hours to Queenstown. It is advisable to stay over night to break the journey.

There is a variety of accommodation – hostels, holiday parks, lodges and motels.


  • Tasman Glacier, take a tour on a Argo 8 wheel all terrain vehicle or cruise on the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake
  • Visit Sir Edmond Hillary Alpine Centre, he was the first climber to reach the summit of Mt Everest
  • Take a break/photo stop at Lake Tekapo and Lake Pukaki
  • Scenic Flights – By helicopter or fixed wing plane
  • Stargazing – You can explore the southern sky every clear evening from the Hillary Deck with expert astronomy guides. with Big Sky Stargazing
  • Walking & Hiking – Long or short walks from Aoraki / Mount Cook Village

Mt Cook Aoraki New Zealand

Mt Cook (Aoraki) New Zealand

Mt Cook (Aoraki) New Zealand

Mt Cook (Aoraki) New Zealand

Māori Myth

The Ngāi Tahu (local Māori people) legend of Aoraki / Mount Cook is the story of Aoraki and his 3 brothers. They were the sons of Rakinui (the Sky Father) and they were on a voyage around Papa-tū-ā-nuku (the Earth Mother) when disaster struck and they became stranded upon a reef.

The voyagers climbed on to the top side of the canoe and after a time the south wind froze them and turned them into stone. Their canoe became the South Island (Te Waka o Aoraki is the oldest name for the South Isand) and Aoraki who stood tallest of the brothers is now seen as the majestic Aoraki / Mount Cook with the Southern Alps as his brothers and other members of his crew.