Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Warkworth, North Island, New Zealand

Small Magellanic Cloud & 47 Tucanae
Oct 26, 2010 – Tuesday – Kerikeri – Warkworth, New Zealand – We reluctantly leave our B&B in Kerikeri this morning, and drive down the highway to Warkworth. We leave late and arrive early. The Warkworth Country House B&B is ready for us, with the doors open and the beds made, so we make ourselves at home. As it turns out, Perry Bathgate, the B&B operator is working in the garden, so he doesn't see us until we have been there for an hour or so. We go to the Bridgehouse Lodge Pub for dinner this evening. It is located on Elizabeth Street, which is the main street in the little town of Warkworth. As it turns out, it is pretty well the only eating establishment that is open in Warkworth this Tuesday evening. The food is good, and the Montieths Original Ale tastes fine.

I take some photographs of the night sky from the front lawn of the B&B this evening, since the sky is relatively clear, and this is a dark rural site. I take photos of the Milky Way, which is a glorious overhead band, as well as the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, which are sister galaxies to the Milky Way. Despite not using my tracking mount, the photos turn out quite well due to the dark skies.

Sheep being herded by a sheep dog at SheepWorld
Oct 27, 2010 – Wednesday –Warkworth, New Zealand – Jan and Perry serve us a delicious full English breakfast this morning. We decide to go to the farm at SheepWorld, which is only 4km north of Warkworth. We walk around the farm pens to see all the animals: sheep, lambs, pigs, rabbits, Alpaca, cattle and goats. Of course, the highlight is when the dogs bring the sheep from the pasture into the pens, the sheep shearing demonstration, and the finale – we get to feed the lambs from bottles.

In the late afternoon we drive over to nearby Point Wells to visit with my cousin Cindy and her family. They have a wonderful property located on the estuary, and the layout of their house takes full advantage of outdoor living and the beautiful view of the estuary surrounding the little community of Point Wells. Before dinner, my cousin's husband Graeme takes us on a walking tour along the shoreline around Point Wells. It is a beautiful area, with some fine views all the way to Omaha Beach. The dinner Cindy and Graeme prepare for us is excellent: fresh fish grilled on the BBQ, lovely plump scallops fresh from the boats at nearby Omaha, and ceviche and tomatoes. A nice salad, and oven roasted potatoes are also served, and a couple of white wines (a pinot gris and a chardonnay) work well with the food. Yet more of that wonderful New Zealander hospitality!

Oct 28, 2010 – Thursday –Warkworth to Whangamata, New Zealand – We are traveling to a B&B on the Coromandel Peninsula today, which means driving through the motorways of Auckland. After we leave the B&B in Warkworth, we do a quick drive to the neighbouring Parry Kauri Park & Warkworth Museum, where there are two very old and extremely large Kauri trees. The drive through Auckland goes extremely well, with traffic being a bit heavy, but it keeps moving nicely. The GPS keeps us on track and helps us to manoeuver through the maze of motorways and ramps around and through Auckland on our way around the Hauraki Gulf to Whangamata on the Coromandel Peninsula.

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