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


My Admiration for Chinese Women

Bai Lady

Bai Lady

I was sitting in a cafe  in Dali, Yunnan Province, China.  Whilst I was sipping my coffee watching people walk past, I took these photo’s of some Chinese woman, I took these from behind as I thought it would be rude to run in front of them.

The photo above is a lady from the Bai Minority Ethnic Group which is one of the main groups in Yunnan.  Her large basket was laden with oranges which she was selling to buy some food.  I admired the intricate embroidery on her traditional clothing.

Bai Lady

Bai Lady

The streets of Dali lined with people selling food, clothing and souvenirs. The above photos show the different ways they transport their wares.  Chinese woman work hard and are able to carry heavy loads.

I walked past a house being renovated with piles of concrete and gravel in the driveway.  There were only women shoveling the building materials into wheel-barrows.

I stood there for a moment watching them and was completely awestruck.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge Admiration

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Landscape of Karst Mountains, Yangshuo, China

Yulong River, Yangshuo, Guangxi Province, China

Yulong River, Yangshuo, Guangxi Province, China

Li River, Yangshuo, Guangxi Province, China

Li River, Yangshuo, Guangxi Province, China

Li River, Yangshuo, Guangxi Provnice, China

Li River, Yangshuo, Guangxi Provnice, China

Yulong River, Yangshuo, Guangxi Province, China

Yulong River, Yangshuo, Guangxi Province, China

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge Landscape

I visited China in 2014, my four days in Yangshuo was very humid and overcast.  I was disappointed as my photos would have been much clearer if there had been blue skies.  However I still found the landscape of these huge limestone peaks spectacular.

Here is a link to a post on my stay in Yangshuo.

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Vibrant Colors of a Tibetan Monastery

Tibetan Temple Lijiang China

This Photo of a Zhiyun Tibetan Monastery was taken near Lijiang, Yunnan Province, China.  This temple is adorned with Vibrant Murals, Lanterns and colorful Prayer Flags.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge Vibrant

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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 5

Hob 1

hob 2

Hobbiton New Zealand

9

8

hob 6

1

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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


Xizhou Bai Minority Village Yunnan Province China


Xizhou Bai Minority Village Yunnan Province China

Xizhou Bai Minority Village

Xizhou a small village about 18 kilometres drive from Dali, a pleasant drive through the countryside of rice fields.  I hired a non-English speaking  driver who drove me to Xizhou in a air-conditioned car.

A thousand years ago, the Ancient Tea Route was a trade link from Sichun, Yunnan to Tibet. Xizhou was on the path of the caravans of the Tea and Horse Road also known as the Silk Road.

Many of the houses decorated are some of the best examples of traditional Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) architecture in China. They have a distinctive Bai touch of colorful pictures, gardens, use of marble decorations, upturned eaves, and bright colors.

Xizhou Bai Minority Village Yunnan Province China

Xizhou Bai Minority Village Yunnan Province China

Xizhou Bai Minority Village Yunnan Province China

Yan’s Compound

Xizhou Bai Minority Village Yunnan Province China

Xizhou Bai Minority Village Yunnan Province China

The driver took me to the Xizhou Village where the highlight is a dance show with young people in various ethnic costumes. Yunnan Province has around twenty-five ethnic minority groups.  Three different kinds of tea was served whilst watching the show. “Sandaocha” is a traditional regional tea ceremony consisting of three unique tea flavors.

A bitter tea which stands for the hardships in life. A sweet tea of sesame and walnut symbolic of happiness in life. Finally, a bitter, sweet, and spicy tea symbolic of pondering life.

Xizhou Bai Minority Village

Xizhou Bai Minority Village

Ladies of the Bai Minority Group

 Xizhou Bai Minority Village

 

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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.

Activities

  • 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.

 


Hiking a Volcano, Rangitoto, Auckland

Hiking a Volcano Rangitoto Auckland

Hiking a Volcano Rangitoto Auckland

Rangitoto is the youngest volcano of the 50 volcano’s in Auckland, It last erupted 600 years ago.  Situated in the Hauraki Gulf it is one of the most photographed icons in Auckland.

How to Get There – There are regular ferries from Downtown Auckland with Fullers Cruises.

What to Take It’s advisable to take a packed lunch and plenty of water. The heat radiates from the volcanic rock. Wear sturdy walking shoes or boots.

The walk takes about three hours,  hike in the morning, have lunch at the summit and walk back down in the afternoon to catch the ferry back to Auckland.

Hiking a Volcano Rangitoto Auckland

The Crator – Rangitoto Island Auckland

Hiking a Volcano – I did this hike a few year’s ago, although it’s not a very scenic walk the views from the top looking over the Hauraki Gulf are amazing.  I couldn’t believe how big the crater was and I was expecting a big gaping hole it is covered in dense bush.  There is also a track that circles the rim.

Hiking a Volcano Rangitoto Auckland

Original NZ Iconic Bach (Beach House)

The bach (bach is the name for New Zealand holiday homes) communities on Rangitoto Island built in the 1920’s and 1930’s, and consist of private holiday homes and boatsheds.

Māori myths

There are several Māori myths associated with Rangitoto. One tells of the children of the fire deities, who lived in the Auckland area.

One night a husband and wife argued and cursed the fire deity Mahuika. She complained to Mataoho, the deity of earthquakes and eruptions, who sent an eruption to destroy the couple’s mountain home. It was swallowed up by the earth and became Lake Pupuke on Auckland’s North Shore, and Rangitoto rose out of the sea. When mist surrounds Rangitoto, it is the tears of the couple as they weep over their lost home.

 

 

 


Things To Do In Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland New Zealand

My Picks on ‘Things to do in Auckland’

For culture and history you may wish to visit the Auckland Museum where there is an excellent Maori concert/cultural performance.

Visit the New Zealand Maritime Museum my favourite part of this museum is the 1950’s vintage NZ beach house (Bach).  There is also activities for children and daily sailings on a historic vessel ‘Breeze’.

Climb Auckland Harbour Bridge or Jump off the world’s first harbour bridge bungy with Auckland Bridge Bungy

Hike Rangitoto Volcano in Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf, a regular ferry service with Fuller’s.

Rangitoto Volcano, Hauraki Gulf, Auckland

Rangitoto Volcano, Hauraki Gulf, Auckland

Explore Auckland’s West Coast Beaches, Lush Rain Forest or join a Vineyard Tour with Bush and Beach

Piha West Coast Black Sand Beach

Piha West Coast Black Sand Beach. Source www.flickr/chrisgin/

Auckland Hop on, Hop Off Explorer – There are two different bus routes where you can combine them in one day. The bus stops at fourteen attractions with full commentary and departs every 30 minutes.

Spend a day on Waiheke Island, only 35mins by ferry from downtown Auckland.  Waiheke is popular for its stunning beach’s, vineyards & wineries, art scene and watersports.

Mudbrick Restaurant & Vineyard Waiheke Island

Mudbrick Restaurant & Vineyard, Waiheke Island

Background
Auckland City the largest city in New Zealand with a population of 1.4 million people.  Auckland’s nickname ‘City of Sails’ as one in three Auckland households own a boat.  Much of Auckland is built on the Auckland Volcanic Field and has 50 volcanoes. The last volcano to erupt was Rangitoto Island 600 years ago.

 

Travel Notes & Beyond