18 November, 2006


Before we get kicked out of Esquires, we have been occupying the comfy lounges for a while now, I have to bring you a couple of photos from our afternoon rest stop before heading back to the hotel to push Zzz's.

We stopped in at Fred Ambler Lookout, Parnell, to take in the view and were pleasantly surprised by a colony of cats sunning themselves for the entertainment of tourists. We tried to count how many black ones, and tabby ones, and were amazed at how well they all got on. They didn't look feral, and we were amazed no one tried to take them home. I had picked a couple of favourites that if we lived here, would have happily taken home. It is one of the things we have noticed, New Zealander's seem to really love their animals, dogs in particular seem to be everywhere, in the gardens we have visited, just everywhere. I love it. It was nice to see the cats, they appeared well cared for, and we soon found out why. A lady came by to feed them with roast chooks. B couldn't help himself and went over to say hello, and was given a tour of the accomodation which apparently her dad had made. The set up was amazing, sort of tucked away, we wouldn't have known it was there had we not been shown.


Catsablanca dining room

Anyway, what an amazing attraction, and good on the Parnell Cat Colony Feeders. Might I suggest a sign in this area to explain the good work of these volunteers.

Catsablanca accomodation

It is funny as a tourist, you miss your pets and being able to 'pat a pet' or at least appreciate one on your travels is somehow comforting.

Macc and Jas it is just 3 more sleeps till we are home.

Rainy day itinerary

this blog is made possible by Esquires Coffee House, Sky City Metro, Auckland. Gotta love these hotspots, and the food is pretty good. Tonight a chicken and peach croissant with brie and rocket, weird combination with the peach but great.

We are smashed, again so much packed into the day. We were up kinda early to get to Auckland's Biggest Garage Sale but got side tracked visiting Cornwall Park which was across the road from the Showgrounds. It was magnificent even though it bucketed down with rain shortly after arriving. We drove to the top of the park to take in the views but were unable to leave the car as it was too wet, and the rain made it virtually impossible to see much anyway. We had breakfast in the kiosk which was kinda upmarket, it was all crisp white tablecloths and french accented staff but I thought the prices were reasonable and the food fresh and delicious. We planned on going back for the high tea at 2pm but got, well.... sidetracked.

The Garage Sale was big, with lots of people most of the good stuff I guess had gone, it would have been good to have been to the preview the night before but we didn't know about it. There were a couple of items we would have liked but there would have been the problem of getting them home.

We hot footed it over to the Aotea Markets back near our hotel, hoping to dry off with the heater in the car, the rain had really set in, we were sodden from the walk to and from the car getting to the garage sale. We got even wetter as we spun around the markets, which were all but washed out really.

Having managed to complete two locations on the days itinerary we would not be put off by the rain, and instead of our planned visit to Ayerlies Garden we took in the Winterhouse in the Domain. This was perfection, especially the heated glasshouse, although we were wet to the bone getting back to the car.

Next, was a trip to Miriwai, the black sand beach. It was a straightforward trip from Auckland, even though we managed to get ourselves lost. And even though it was still raining (I don't think it stopped until we got back to the hotel this evening for a sleep), we were fascinated by the colour of the beach, it is amazing, and the waves were huge. We would have loved to have walked, and there was some that were, but the rain had won out. We headed back to Auckland via Devonport, the plan being to buy one of these by Maggie De Grauw, however, when we got to the gallery they had sold the one I had my heart set on from our visit on Thursday.

Tomorrow we check out of the hotel and travel to Rotarua.

17 November, 2006

photo album link

Back in the shoe box, oh sorry hotel room, here is a link to the photo album.

thank god for starbucks

we have been able to escape the confines of our tiny (real real tiny, hot, non-airconditioned, fridgeless, bathless - although it does have a shower, and dated) room. Needless to say, we are checking out (early) Sunday morning. I do like to go off on a tangent, but thank god for Starbucks we can escape and through the marvels of wireless internet report whilst sipping frappuccinos, that we have had an absolutely brilliant day at the Ellerslie Flower Show.

After a rocky start, see previous post, we arrived at Auckland Botanic Gardens with an hour and a quarter to spare (someone didn't read the times). Anyway, we got a great parking spot, and they don't charge for parking, or seem to have toll roads, sorry off on that tangent again. The Botanic Gardens are awe inspiring, better than my memory of Kew, and they blew my mind at the time. Ellerslie Flower Show itself was better than I could have expected, it leaves Melbourne Flower Show for dead and I am sorry to say my favourite 'Show' the Royal Easter Show is shabby in comparison. I think one of the nice things about Ellerslie is that it is such a celebration of New Zealand. It is also really big, soooo many stalls, craft, art, food, more food (and lots of tasting), and of course garden displays. We have bought some seeds which we are hoping will pass quarantine, and some garden ornaments that (are heavy) were too cute to pass up. We were at the gardens till after 3pm, B's back and my foot were at their limit. We only got a cursery look at the Botanic Gardens so will probably try and get back there on Tuesday for brekky.

We had an early (5pm) dinner at the Seafood Catch at the Auckland Fish Market - fish and chips to die for. Feeling rested after our dinner we checked out the Victoria Park Market, we were there for less than half an hour, it was a real disappointment. Great building though so I guess not a complete waste of time, it also meant that we have more time for our planned market day, tomorrow, when we explore Aucklands Biggest Garage Sale, and the Aotea Markets a block or so from the hotel. And if we get through these without doing ourselves in, we have a garden to explore whose name escapes me.

Anyway, time to go, B promises photos in his post.

Oh and by the way, Sydney friends, it has been on average 24 degrees C, although yesterday we did have four seasons in the hour throughout the day.

16 November, 2006

New Zealand

After declaring myself a criminal with 12 months imprisonment, and B declaring he was importing prohibited goods (a wheat pack for his back) we were allowed access to New Zealand. No, polite Border Security Officer, I did not read the question properly. My excuse

  • my sore foot, that I think may be broken after launching myself off a gutter on Saturday morning and has been strapped up until the morning of our flight across the pond,
  • a scrambled brain from doing my last exam the day before,
  • not sleeping well the night before my exam, and
  • not sleeping well the night before the flight, for fear of sleeping in.

Making the most of our time here, we have hired a car, that way we can get from A to B more quickly and hopefully pack more in. So far we have managed to pack a lot in, although I can’t say that the car has enabled us to get from one destination to the next that quickly, we seem to get lost quite easily. Anyway today we have been to Parnell’s Rose Garden and Parnell Village

Parnell Rose Garden
Mt Eden Gardens,

Mt Eden Gardens
Devonport via the Ferry ,

Auckland from Devonport

Ellerslie to scope out where we needed to be tomorrow for the Ellerslie Flower Show, only to find out after driving around for over an hour or so, that the Ellerslie Flower Show is not actually in Ellerslie this year but at the Auckland Botanic Gardens about half an hour in the opposite direction, and of course we had to scope this out, adding an hour round trip to the end of the day. Needless to say we are having a great time discovering Auckland but are exhausted.

14 November, 2006

the long weekend

today I (hopefully) did the final exam for my MBA. I am a little unsure how well I will have done, not much study has been done in the last few weeks, and although I had a long weekend starting Friday last week and including Monday this week to study, not a great deal got done during this time either. The final bit of effort I had planned with a long weekend eluded me.

12 November, 2006

Douglas & Hope

A few dramas this weekend so a post I prepared earlier......

Douglas & Hope
Probably my most favourite shop in Melbourne, Douglas & Hope now apparently have three stores but still no website. I have only managed to visit the brunswick st store and this one in The Block Arcade in Melbourne CBD. This one is handy to the hotel I stay in, being less than 5 minutes by foot up the road. It is also open to 6pm which means I am generally able to drop in at some stage whilst attending my workshop. I made a couple of small purdhases, all Mozi designs. A teatowel, a card with a bird ornament, and a ham bag (I liked the design and with Christmas coming up, I thought B might find this useful). One day I will treat myself to one of D & H's cushions, if not one of their quilts. But for now I will have to satisfy myself with photos of their work.

Douglas & Hope window closeup

Douglas & Hope bags on display

Douglas & Hope Owl Accessory

11 November, 2006



Glowing Balls
this time last week we were at Riverfest, in Parramatta. It was not such a great day for this event, being wet and kind of cold. B and I had dinner at Wagamama's although if we had gone for a walk around the festival first we might have had dinner at the noodle market.

Riverfest noodle market

Looking towards Lennox Bridge

10 November, 2006



CH2 again
I am home today, studying for (hopefully) my last exam. I quite enjoy the view from my study desk looking out of the tiny window in our attic. I look down on the goings on in our street, admire our garden, and on a clear day like today, can see Centrepoint Tower. At work, my team moved office space. I have a bigger desk and can see outside, I can see trees and have an indication of the weather. I am hoping that I will feel less tired, as the lack of sunlight was becoming quite depressing.

Last week, I had the pleasure of experiencing the new office space of Melbourne City Council, CH2. It was a pretty funky looking building, nearly all glass with timber louvres that move to provide shading.

The offices are open plan with even Managers inhabiting a workstation.

office space
The building is green star rated to six stars, and I can attest that with a rotten cold that was getting worse in the airconditioning at the hotel was improved with the fresh air of this building. You could really feel the difference.

I was fortunate enough to get a tour of the building with the workshop I was participating in. There was so much information about the features of the building. How is this for a roof garden space in the CBD though?

roof garden
This is a model of the old/original council building. It is a really beautiful building and this model made of wire is great, it got me thinking whether I could make something like this of our house?

model of the original council building

09 November, 2006

Fifteen Melbourne

Fifteen Melbourne

I love tuning in on a Thursday for the latest developments at the Fifteen Melbourne restaurant. This is as close as I got to eating there. I planned to have dinner there on my first night but at $90 a head and bookings being taken for March 2007 at this time there was no chance.

Gotta go, with Jamie's Kitchen Australia about to start, I will make do with a virtual experience.