Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Real Sheep Wear Fuschia?

I did not want to leave New Zealand until I had sheared a sheep. Really, that's not so odd. With time to kill because of canceled golf, we discovered Sheep World. Tell me, how could you miss this place with fuschia sheep out front. Talk about colorful marketing! We experienced the entire process. It begins with the dog whose job it is to round up the sheep. He does this without a word or is that a bark. He has good parenting skills. He turns them over to the dog who very noisily corrals the cowering sheep into the corner. Is this dad vs mom?

Then on to the shearing. Seems there is a spot on a sheep's side haunch that lulls him into oblivion. The shearer rotates him into this position and then with six swipes of his shears, the wool is off. No pain. Sheep eat more after they are sheared so, I guess it has its benefits.

Factoid: After the Gulf oil spill, grade B wool (the dirty outer layer) was sold to the clean up crew because sheep wool absorbs oil. Neat fact, HUH? And a good use for something that was not being used and was natural.

Monday, May 28, 2012

We woke up our day to play at Kauri Cliffs, truly one of the golf highlights of the trip, but we could not see the ocean across the street, it was so foggy. What a disappointment. We drove the 45 minutes to the course hoping it would be clearer up higher. Not so and no prediction that the front would move on. Lucky for us, the next morning was free. We changed plans and played the next day in a Portland mist. Bummer! But look at this scenery...oh my!

These trees are called Norfolk Island Pine. The fronds grow out in a star pattern which is so cool. They are found all over New Zealand. Totally, an amazing experience.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Gulf Harbor

Just north of Auckland is this little community. You can take a boat across to Auckland and many commuters do just that. The golf was difficult, a lot of side hill lies but the views were ocean bound and spectacular. The day was glorious.

Next stop on our way north was Paihia, pronounced Pie-hea. Our hotel was very contemporary and right on the coast but the days were so overcast, it was mostly lost for us. We noticed a road stop on the street below. It seems the police were giving a breathalyzer to everyone who passed by. Our driving was so bad and our wine consuption so good, we decided we better walk to dinner. The NZers would probably think we had too much to drink:).

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

One of the absolute highlights of this trip was this Catamaran ride on Lake Rotoiti. Fred, our host, had asked us what we wanted to do in Rotorua. We were tired and needed some down time. Rotorua is know for its mineral baths. He suggested a friend who runs a boat out to the local baths. He called the Captain and asked if he was running on this day. He said he could... Imagine our surprise when we showed up and we were the only passengers. Captain Matt took care of us. The boat is named Tiu, which means Runs with the Wind. Matt purchased it in the Mediterranean and sailed it across both oceans with a crew of four. What a great story!

Feet up. Oh so relaxed!

Fred shared with us the details of this walk, which we would pass on our home from the Katamaran ride. Imagine a Redwood forest so far from home.

The Rotorua Museum of Art and History wrapped our stay here. It was the right size and mix of NZ artists and culture. Loved it.