Tuesday, May 31, 2011


I was down in Christchurch for a couple days for work. Coming home, I took some shots from the plane.

You can just see the Farewell Spit in this one.

 And the top of Mount Taranaki sticking out of the clouds.

And finally, a magazine ad that amused me. South Island Humor.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


View of the Firth of the Thames from the eastern edge of the Hanua Ranges.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Shannon and I finally made good on our jabbering and brewed a batch of beer. You could easily argue that we took the easy/lame route. We bought a kit. We had gone round and round trying to piece together the equipment, and we finally just slapped down the hundred bucks and got it all in a box.

There are pluses and minuses to this. On the one hand, it got us going. On the other hand, it came with a starter mix for Lion Draught, which is something like Clydesdale Urine. However, if we can successfully produce something that tastes like cheap beer, we'll know we got the process right enough to try something a little more advanced, which is the ultimate goal.

We've gone through what seems like a successful primary fermentation, as the specific gravity changed roughly as expected and the taste changed significantly. It's bottled now, and I hope we're having progress with secondary fermentation. Time will tell.

We should have done this in Melbourne, but I'm glad we bit the bullet. Hopefully the next batch will be rewarding. All I'm expecting from this batch is an understanding of the process and a cheap buzz. Anyone want a beer? Twenty three litres of very average beer is a lot.

Monday, May 16, 2011

One Tree Hill

The view from the top, and the monument on the top, on a rainy day. Cue the U2 song of the same name.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Took another quick hike up in the Waitakere Ranges a couple weekends back. After a day of rain, and more threatening, we wanted something outside but low risk if it got nasty.

The loop we took was a nice hike, but not especially photogenic, as it was dense bush most of the way. On the way in though, we got a good view of the mouth of the Manukau Harbour.

You may recall, loyal readers, that we were trying to get out to the end of one of the headlands when we wound up at Hamiltons Gap. We were trying to get to the end of the land mass on the left in the above shot.

While staring at this rock, we did get a rainbow right in front of us, which was pretty solid.

The actual hike was good. There were a number of giant kauri trees scattered through the forest. Pretty impressively tall and straight for the most part, but occasionally, there were some that seemed to just go wide, as this one, the Tom Thumb kauri.

As you can see, it was pretty much a muddy mess. We were pretty filthy at the end, and pleased to be in gaiters. Here we are at the highest point in the Waitakere Ranges - a whopping 474 meters. The sign had been updated to the latest survey data using a sharpie.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Kerekere Beach

Not satisfied with beaches after the Waiheke trip, Shannon and I went out on a hike starting from Kerekere beach on the west coast. It's only about 45 minutes outside Auckland, in the Waitekere Ranges. It's a pretty amazing area to be essentially right around the corner. Tons of trails to hike, great black sand beaches, undulating terrain. Sweet.

After an exposed walk to the top of the ridge, the trail ducks into really dense, ferny forest.

Then it's a decent back to the beach, where you walk through vast black sand dunes that just border the cliffs. It was a bit of a slog through the dunes, but a really neat environment to see. It's marshland, so there are some interesting birds and vegetation.

We did enjoy a lovely lunch on the black sand beach before heading back. Pretty nice, casual Sunday, I'd say.