Thursday, January 7, 2010

Days Away in Taranaki..

Mt Taranaki, the iconic symbol of this region of the North Island, about 3 hours south of my home region, Waikato, can be seen from all most every corner of the region - a tall volcanic cone reaching up to the clouds set amongst very fertile dairy farming land and a stones throw away from the roaring Tasman ocean. She is usually covered in snow most of the year, has wonderful walking tracks, a world famous Rhodendron garden, Pukeiti, (google it) on her slopes and views to die for from the top.
I am staying with friends who live in the city of New Plymouth, the only city in the area, lots of small towns around. NP is sited on the west coast of the North Island, not as big as Hamilton ( my home), but older, with lots of character and one-way streets - which makes for interesting driving !! I really like it here, in fact, I could live here. The climate is cooler then home which really suits me as I hate the heat !
The light shining through this Strelitzia or Bird of Paradise makes the flower glow - I couldn`t resist this photo. With the soil being volcanic, everything grows here. Where I live it is pretty good also, but it does not get as humid here so there is less disease. The further south you go in NZ, the better plants like roses, rhodos, camellias and other cool climate plants grow . Ali`s hostas are magnificant, with hardly a blemish or snail bit on them - I feel so much more energised with the cool days.

Part of the port area in NP with the open ocean out beyond the man-made barrier of stone. It is a deep sea port with tankers coming in all the time. Oil has also been found off the coast and alot of people from here work on the rigs. It doesn`t look it, but the waves were 5 metres high that day, crashing up and over the barrier in the distance ! When the first settlers from Britain came here in around 1830`s there was no harbour and they had to basically surf in to the beach on small boats, the sailing ships having to anchor quite away out. The west coast of both NZ `s main islands is wild and woolly, so much more interesting then the east side - I prefer being here .

These seagulls were drinking from a fresh water stream that runs through the city and out into the ocean. There are many rivers and streams that run down off the mountain, through bush and farm land and out to sea. NP city has a number that they look after really well with planting of native plants, nothing nasty running into them, walkways along the edges and generally encourage people to use them - they all come out into the sea at some point.
The early town planners of NP had the great sense to leave pockets of native bush all through the city, hence there are lots of native birds here. Compared to home it is stunning, with Keraru, native pigeon, Tui, kingfisher, bellbirds and others all abundant and hanging out in backyards - I am very envious ..


Lynn said...

No, I am envious. I want you to know I'm saving my money for a trip to your stunning home one day. I hope you can meet me at the airport!


Ngaio said...

Oh yes Lynn, I will meet you at the airport and then we will go on a `tiki tour` NZ slang for road trip all over my beautiful country. I love showing visitors all the cool places, especially those off the beaten track - we will go honey hunting to - ok ??

Cally said...

I love New Plymouth too. I went to boarding school there for my last two years of school, and every morning as I walked from the hostel to the school, I would look at Mt Taranaki (or Egmont as it was called then) and just drink in the beauty. In spring the view of it was even better, as I looked at it past a glorious huge old kowhai tree, covered in golden flowers.

Roll on March, and our weekend at WOMAD when I can get up in the morning and look upon Mt Taranaki the minute I emerge from our caravan.

Cabbage Tree Farm said...

Taranaki is beautiful. I remember going for a forest walk up on the mountain in the snow and walking through the tree fuschias, just magical.

Cliff W said...

Wow Marcia! you should be employed by the NZ tourist board. More gorgeous photos - especially the volcanic dome. Like Lynn, one day we will visit I'm sure.