Sunday, May 31, 2009

Southern Comfort

Wanaka. May 2009. Ajr
The Cow is a Queenstown institution. It's been going for years. Now the sister restaurant in Wanaka, although much newer, is just as popular. It's tucked away at the bottom of Post Office Lane and when the doors open, people filter in for pizzas and fireside warmth - and who can blame them in that cold climate. Guaranteed late nights are also part of the attraction because Woody's, Botswana Butchery and bartuga are all located right next door in Post Office Lane. Big outdoor fires throw out the heat in the outdoor courtyard and people huddle in tight social circles.

Cool Cars - 46

One Bright Red 1964 Chevrolet Impala Super Sport - Spotted at Queen's Wharf, Wellington

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Winter Afternoon in Dunedin

Dunedin. May 2009. Ajr
I've just spent the last two days of my 2009 Frommers New Zealand Road Trip in one of my favourite New Zealand cities - Dunedin. I raced about like a person possessed, checking everything I needed to check (nearly), meeting people and taking photographs. By late afternoon yesterday, the sun was still shining but the temperature had (characteristically) plummetted, creating a weird calmness and a soft, shimmering haze over the harbour. I took these shots from the overbridge at Roslyn on Maori Hill at about 4pm.

StreetscapeNZ - 30

Lower Stuart Street, Dunedin
Looking towards the magnificent Dunedin Railway Station
May 2009. Ajr.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Autumn Vines

Gisborne. May 2009. Ajr
The Gisborne region is New Zealand's second-largest producer of Chardonnay grapes after Marlborough, growing over one third of the nation's crop. It was all looking very picturesque when I sailed through the winery region a few weeks back - warm, sunny, balmy and very very golden.

A Many-Pillowed Sleep

Picton. April 2009. Ajr
Half the fun of updating Frommers New Zealand every two years is discovering new and luscious places to rest my weary head. This was one of them - the very luscious Escape to Picton in....yes, you guessed it....Picton! And as you can see, I was spoiled for choice in the pillow department.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

One Day in the Far North

Cable Bay. April 2009. Ajr.
Now that I'm back in the deep south weathering ice, snow, fog, mist, rain, hail and wind, my days in the Far North in April suddenly seem far too distant a memory. The day I took this photograph at Cable Bay, near Mangonui, it was actually raining believe it or not. If I have to endure a rainy day, that's the sort of rain I'd like down here.

Powder Room Pleasures

Wellington. April 2009 Ajr
I'm a sucker for a gorgeous bathroom
And this one at Wellington's Museum Hotel is one of the loveliest hotel bathrooms I've stumbled into yet. Turns out one bride even wanted her wedding photographs shot in here!

A Slice of Capital Life

Wellington. April 2009. Ajr
Morning Activity at My New Capital Favourite
Midnight Espresso
Cuba Street

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Sounds Lovely!

Picton. April 2009. Ajr
It was a perfect day when I arrived in Picton on April 10th - the first day of this year's Frommers New Zealand road trip. Everyone was out enjoying late autumn sunshine - eating icecreams even; sunbathing even! The waters in Marlborough Sounds were calm and electric blue and I couldn't have wished for a better start to my adventures.

Billboard of the Week

Wellington. April 2009. Ajr
The Smiling PACIFIC BLUE girls
Looming large over Manners Mall

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

StreetscapeNZ - 29

Willis Street, Wellington
April 2009. Ajr

It's a Sign

Kaikoura. April 2009. Ajr
Only in Kaikoura!

On Reflection

Wellington. April 2009. Ajr
If you're into photographing high-rise reflections - and I think it's fairly obvious that I am - then Wellington is the place to be. Auckland is okay but Wellington is much better because it's a more compact city and the highrise is packed much more closely together. I was mildly over-excited when I caught this one - down near Civic Square.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Capital Arts

Wellington. April 2009. Ajr
I photographed this piece of sculpture in central Wellington - on Lambton Quay actually - but for the life of me I can't remember the artist's name. I'm hoping some cool, up-with-the-play Wellingtonian is going to know and leave the answer in a comment. Please! Because I HATE not knowing stuff.

In the Pink

TheNewDowse, Lower Hutt. April 2009. Ajr
Here's another of the very excellent signs at TheNewDowse in Lower Hutt. I liked many of their signs almost as much as some of the gallery exhibits. You can see others by clicking on TheNewDowse in the label line below this post.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Small Moments of Greed

A Brush With Deliciousness
Simply Paris, Wellington
April 2009. Ajr

Urban Sanctuary

Wellington. April 2009. Ajr
I don't mean to boast but I've seen plenty of tuatara. But there is still something quite special about seeing one in the wild - well....almost the wild! I photographed this one at Wellington's Zealandia Sanctuary at Karori and no, it wasn't in a cage. They have many tuatara living 'wild' within this unique, fenced urban sanctuary - the first urban sanctuary in the world. The little coloured beads on the back on its neck are the tags that identify each lizard according to age, gender etc. The little green lizards 'laced together' enjoying the sun were in a cage - a glass house actually. They're the rare Wellington gecko, unique to the capital city. You can read much more about both at

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Peep Hole - An Eye on the Land

Kaikoura. April 2009. Ajr
I love the way this slot-window in a new concrete pavilion on the Kaikoura Walkway at South Bay frames the landscape beyond. It's a living painting almost.

For Nostalgia

Kaikoura. April 2009. Ajr
Hands up if you remember these little beauties! The originals I mean - from the 1950s! These chubby little red plastic tomato sauce bottles are all the rage again. In fact, Little Rock in Kaikoura sells them by the bucket-load. They're their biggest selling item in the shop and owner Melanie Smith now bys them in lots of 200. She sold six in the 20 minutes I was in the store. I have fond childhood memories of them. I loved filling them. I loved fiddling with them at the table - which often got me into trouble; and I loved unclogging the little stem, where the stuck sauce had 'healed over' and releasing a fresh new torrent onto my plate.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Driving Into A Southern Winter

This is the Lindis Pass landscape I drove through a couple of days ago on my way south to Wanaka. White, Empty, Silent.
May 2009. Ajr

A Southern View

Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkables
As seen from The Heritage, Fernhill
May 2009. Ajr

Capital Architecture

Wellington. April 2009. Ajr
There are some buildings I never get tired of photographing. The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa is one of them. At any given time of day or night; from the inside or the out, there's a new composition just waiting for my camera. I like a building that keeps delivering visual surprises.

Dining in Style

Cuba Street, Wellington. April 2009. Ajr
You’ve all seen them on television, driving around provincial New Zealand fossicking for all our best edibles, and this is where they hang out – Logan Brown, one of Wellington’s finest restaurants. I always think there’s a lovely irony in the fact that the restaurant is located in an old bank building (very cute) in the middle of what was once Wellington’s thriving red-light district (and possibly still is).

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Caffiene Fix

Napier. May 2009. Ajr
Early Morning
Ujazi Cafe, Napier

Fifties Glamour

Auckland. April 2009. Ajr
The MLC Building (Mutual Life Company) on Queen Street, was the tallest building in Auckland when it opened in 1957. Now it’s home to Scenic Circle’s Airedale Hotel. I paid them a visit a month ago when I was in Auckland and I must say I was very taken with their foyer – the fantastic tiles (original) and the magnificent 1950s light fitting that dominates the space. They don’t build them like they used to!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Another Museum Moment

Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
Looking Extraordinarily Handsome
Image Courtesy Te Papa, April 2009

Gothic Beauty

Warwick House Images Supplied
I’ve often talked about my passion for old homesteads, so regular readers can imagine how excited I was about a visit to Nelson’s Warwick House. This monstrous three-storied home was built in 1854 and was extended in the 1870s to include three towers, a spiral staircase and a magnificent ballroom overlooking Nelson city. The large wing containing two of the towers and many rooms has since been demolished but the third tower and the ballroom are still intact. One corner of the ballroom in fact, acts as the breakfast room for paying guests each morning. Nick and Jenny Ferrier are the seventh owners. They bought six or seven years ago on their return from Hong Kong, keen to establish a new lifestyle that would keep them in touch with the international community. They’ve spent all the years since renovating the home (which had been turned into flats prior to their arrival), and confess that it’s still a work in progress. They currently have five guest rooms; and their own wing – a huge 8-bedroomed house in its own right – while part of the original house, is completely separate from guest quarters. Once a venue for glamorous entertaining events for leading merchants and politicians, Warwick House was used as a gentlemen’s boarding house in the early 1890s. It’s been home to seven families and Nick and Jenny have met a number of people who grew up there. They’ve also gathered a lovely photographic timeline of the mansion, which is on display in the second-level of the Tower Room. (The lowest level is a wine cellar; the top level part of one of the guest suites). In the process of renovating they have discovered boarded up rooms, original boarded up ceilings and all manner of other treats. “It’s been a labour of love and lots of hard work; but definitely worth it,” says Nick. “We had spent a lot of time living overseas and it’s great that we now enjoy the quieter lifestyle of Nelson without losing touch with people from all over the world.”

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Meet the People - 40

Another in the Series Meet the People – Ordinary and Extraordinary New Zealanders Doing Interesting Things – Wellington Journalist, Jane Tolerton is leading a double life. By day she works as a researcher and writer at Te Ara for the Ministry of Culture and Heritage; by night she swaps roles and becomes the hostess at Wellington’s Booklovers B&B, which she established in her gorgeous 1895 home in Mount Victoria in 2001. She was working as a producer on Nine-to-Noon on National Radio back in 1999 when she bought the big double bay villa but that didn’t slow her down. She spent two years ‘doing the house up’ and, with every room stacked full of interesting books, she then opened the doors to welcome national and international guests. Writing is her chief passion and she has five books to her credit – the best known perhaps, her biography on Ettie Rout, which won a New Zealand Book Award in 1993. “Having an idea and seeing it through, seeing it ‘reach’ someone, is very powerful,” says Jane. “I particularly like writing oral history – letting people express themselves and capturing the essence of their lives.
All Photos Ajr April 2009 It’s all about communicating. That’s what drives me. I get those same connections and that same buzz here at the B&B breakfast table when people from all over the world come together.” Jane, who has a double degree in History and American Studies and a Diploma of Journalism, started her career as a proof reader, reporter and sub-editor for the Waikato Times in 1980. Then came her books, a stint of teaching a polytech journalism course and she still manages to fit in a little corporate speech writing. And favourite authors? “Of course, Anthony Trollope, Jane Austen and John Le Carre to name just three.”

Monday, May 18, 2009

StreetscapeNZ - 28

Anglesea Street, Ponsonby
Looking toward SKYTOWER
April 2009 Ajr
To take 'a tour of New Zealand streets' click on StreetscapeNZ in the label line below this post. Remember to click on OLDERPOSTS when you get to the bottom.

Seeing the Light - Again!

High Street, Auckland April 2009 Ajr
I wonder if there has been another lightshade - in recent times - that has soared to the impossibly dizzy heights of popularity afforded 'Coral/Floral' designed by Napier-based New Zealand designer David Trubridge? I don't have one in my house - but I do have dozens of photographs of it in numerous different settings. I quite like that - seeing how it looks in different locations, hung in different ways. You can see my other images of it (and it's close relative) by clicking on 'David Trubridge' in the label line below this post.

Cool Cars - 45

One Hot Red 1976 Lincoln Continental - Spotted in North Canterbury

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Wellington Waterways

Wellington. April 2009. Ajr
perfect weather
calm waters
perfect reflections
Wellington Harbour


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