Anyone who’s read any of my stuff would have realised I’m besotted with film sets and locations, so while in the north island of New Zealand I couldn’t miss out on Hobbiton, the location used for The Shire in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ movies.
It was recommended, while in Rotorua, that I visit Whakarewarewa Living Maori Village, which is to say people here still live in the traditional way. As I arrived, a guide was explaining the enormously long, original name of the village, to a group of school children. ‘Te Whakarewarewatanga O Te Ope Taua A Wahiao,’ she said, slowly. ‘Three hundred years ago, a warrior chief named Wahiao, got together an army to get back at the people who killed his father. And so that’s what the name means: The Gathering Place of the Army of Wahiao.
I returned to New Zealand in 2014, this time to the north island. I’d been looking at photos of Rotorua’s thermal wonderland for years. This was my chance to see it for myself. Rotorua is a nice town, set around Lake Rotorua.
While preparing my book, Hangi, Haka and Hobbits: Notes from New Zealand, the second in my Planning to the Nth trilogy, for publication in print, memories are flooding back.
I’ve featured several heritage mansions in the past but I think the queen of them all would have to be Werribee Mansion. Part of the Werribee Park Estate, it’s an insight into how the other half lived when the other half had so much money they didn’t know what to do with it. Continue reading “Werribee Mansion, Melbourne.”
There comes a time when you absolutely have to get out of your house away from routine and what feels like duty and into the real world. Last Thursday was one of those days.
I headed up into the hills, to a nice little village with the delightful name of Emerald. It’s one of the stopping points for the Puffing Billy Heritage Railway. The century-old steam train runs for 24 kilometres on its original track through the forests and farmland of the Dandenong Ranges, from Belgrave to Gembrook.
This week, I’m blatantly using my blog as an advertisement. My ebook, The Edge of the World: Next Stop Cape Horn, has been for sale on Amazon for two years and at last I have it available in print.
In 2006, I set out in my little hatchback to begin the first of four road trips around the island of Tasmania, south of where I live in Melbourne, Australia.
On my way out of Canberra, I stopped off at Cockington Green Gardens, a display of meticulously handcrafted, miniature buildings from around the world, set in beautifully landscaped gardens. I love miniature villages. They give permission for my child to come out again just for a little while.
You can’t really get the full experience of these lovely creations without actually seeing them in the flesh, so to speak, but I hope my photos will give you a bit of look at them.
Having passed through Old Parliament House briefly years before, this time I wanted to have a good look.
It’s a lovely building, I think, anyway. There’s a warmth and comfort about it, not something you’d expect considering what it was used for, politics not being particularly warm and comforting. It served as the home of the Australian Parliament from 1927 till 1988.