Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Beautiful Places

One of the best things about living in New Zealand is the close proximity of beautiful places. There are a lot of them. And no place in New Zealand is more than about an hour’s drive from the sea. Today was a day to take in some of those places.

We went for a drive north of Auckland. On the way back, we stopped at Wenderholm Regional Park, where the photo at the top of this post was taken. In summer, the park is packed, but it’s still spring and today is the middle of a work week so instead this beauty spot was largely abandoned.

Further south, we stopped just above Orewa for some photos looking back toward Auckland. Orewa is a major destination during the summer holidays, mostly thanks to this huge beach. But the motorway has been pushed north from Auckland, reducing travel time, and now it’s feasible for someone to live in Orewa and commute to Auckland. This will probably change everything for the town. The beach, however will remain.

The main purpose of the trip was to go to Sheep World, a tourist attraction in the Dome Valley north of Warkworth. The place sounded totally naff to me, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it might be. Part of it was really interesting, and the cafĂ© was nice, too.

New Zealand has around 45 million sheep, which has given rise to at least that many jokes, most of which are far more tiresome than funny. Nevertheless, it’s no exaggeration to say the country was built on the backs of these animals. I took this photo of an orphan lamb being tended by Sheep World. Tourists are allowed to bottle-feed these lambs. Okay, take a moment now to say, “Awwwwwww.” The good news is that we were told these lambs will end up being adopted out as pets. I guess that means that they won’t become someone’s Sunday dinner, as I would’ve thought.

We're going on a road trip to Wellington at the end of the week, taking in the compulsory tourist spots of Rotorua and Taupo. I won't be posting photos from all those places, and there are unlikely to be any more sheep photos. But there will be more shots from beautiful places.

No comments: