Sheffield to Moana – 2 passes, 1 viaduct, many villages.

Guess what…? 10k down the road… a very straight road at that… is a the little town of Springfield… and on that road, in that little town, there is a cafe/shop advertising “famous” pies!

“Should we stop?”

“No, they’re probably just the Sheffield pies anyway.”

Onward and upward… we come to our first pass – Porters Pass. [Info spot: Named in 1858 by the Porter brothers who were farming nearby and is, in fact, higher than the more well-known Arthur’s Pass to follow.] This is a popular ski-ing area in the winter and boasts amazing rock formations at Castle Hill so naturally a photo stop and short walk is called for at Cave Stream Reserve.

Pristine blue skies from Cave Stream Reserve.

The road continues to wind its way through the mountains, along the Bealey River and into the second pass of our travels – Arthur’s Pass [Info spot: Previously called Camping Flat then Bealey Flats. Named after Sir Arthur Dudley Dobson (1841–1934) who traversed it in 1864 with his brother.] Tucked amongst the “vast swathes of beech forest” is the little village, also now called Arthur’s Pass.

Waterfall at Arthurs Pass is clearly lacking its usual volume of flow.

Here one finds a DOC and visitors’ centre with a museum well worth visiting, several eateries and accommodation options, a railway station and a church, also worth popping into for the view.  Many alpine tracks begin and end within a short distance of the village but we have time only for a short stroll to view a waterfall. Unfortunately and unusually, there has not been much rain preceding our stopover so the water is not falling in spectacular measure but it’s a pretty sight anyway.

Such a beautiful drive winding through the trees but soon we approach the Otira Gorge viaduct. [Info spot: Built to avoid rockfalls. Opened on Saturday 6th November, 1999]. Can’t miss the chance to view this incredible engineering feat from above so sandwiches and hot drinks are extracted from the boot as the photographers shoot away from the lookout.

The magnificent Otira viaduct.

We take a slight detour to drive around the tiny village of Otira [Info spot:Meaning of the name is ‘place of the travellers’. During construction of the rail tunnel, opened in 1923, Otira housed about 600 workers and their families.] and discuss that on another trip we may even stay in the quirky hotel as it has been recommended and there are certainly a few artefacts to be examined!

Our destination is not too far away as we follow the Taramakau River and turn off at Jacksons to head north. The mainly-holiday-home settlement of Moana lies on the northern shores of Lake Brunner and our overnight destination is a few kilometres beyond that. After checking in we return to Lake Brunner to capture some photos and scenery in the calm of the late afternoon. [Info spot: Lake Brunner was named for the 19th century explorer Thomas Brunner. The Maori name for the lake, Kotuku moana, means “Sea of herons”.] 

A tossed stone sends ripples in a very calm Lake Brunner

Progress… learning, learning, learning..

“If you want to continually grow your blog, you need to learn to blog on a consistent basis.” Neil Patel

How’s this… my second post today…!!! And I’m taking advice seriously… (as per the above quote from a “Top Blogger” – thank you, Neil.)

Actually, what I want to mention is the progress I am making. I am enjoying the learning process and if my blurb here helps anyone else I will be happy!

In my previous post under menu item “Blogging” I was looking at blogging for money.  Now this may be an eventual goal but I realised I needed to sort out my site first and foremost.  Thanks to WordPress Help, I think I have managed to do this.  It probably could still do with some tweaks, but generally it’s okay for now.

Second point I want to make here is to direct you to the excellent “setting up” site my hubby found.  And I have a question for you… but first, I am loving what Matthew Loomis has to say regarding blogging (no, he’s not paying me to say this and I hope it’s okay to use his name here). I don’t know where hubby, Jim, came across his site and I’m not going to plagiarise his information but I am sure putting it into practice…. eg, beginning with a quote.

And now, the question…. Jim (hubby) wants to create a “chat forum” relating to topics he’s interested in.  My site is already set up and doesn’t have a lot of traffic though I love that I have a few followers and readers of each post (what blogger doesn’t?) Should Jim use my site and add an item to my menu or create his own site? A point to note is that I am likely to do much of the administering of his site if he sets up his own (but he would respond to forum discussions)… which would make it easier to just have the one web/blog site….

Anyway, love to hear your opinion…


More on blogging for money …

Mmmm…. maybe one day… I think I’m on to day 5 on my recent quest for riches or “followers” though the medium of blogging. I have one further follower today (thank you, Kathryn) and several requests to confirm my entry into numerous competition and “freebie” sites. Sure, making money without having to do anything sounds great… but quite dubious… and, as I’ve already found, do rather load up my inbox (and Spam filter!). Anyway, I’ll deal with that shortly…

In the meantime let’s see what my friendly “Stuff”article tells me about blogging for money… I need to find a brand who values my opinion… oh… on what?? Does that mean I must blog about nappies, or make-up, or tools, or food, or …. Sounds like advertising under another name to me! I guess a Christian marketer might like my “Reflections & Meditations” tag (or is that ‘category’?)… wonderful! Or a specific DIY or building supplies firm could like my “Home Restorations” tag/category… Is this how it works?

One thing I wouldn’t like to become is an advertising blog… promotions can run alongside (if I ever get to that point!) and that, I see, is what is called “Affiliate marketing”. The blogger makes a percentage (a very small percentage, I believe) when readers buy from an advertisement included in or beside a blog.

But apparently sponsored content is the most common way for blogs to make money.  Now this is advertising and, as I said, I don’t think I want to go down that track. I could, as my “stuff” article suggests, sell products or services … that would take time and resources…

I have just read about a blogger who, after three years of blogging, now has more than 120,000 followers on Facebook. She endorses my thoughts that blogging is about writing, anything else comes second. That’s what I want to hear!

So, enough about blogging for money for now.  I’ll certainly post a blog if I do make any money but in the meantime it’s on with my other tags or categories or posts or whatever they are called… now I am really proving my “noviceness” aren’t I!!

Next tips…

Going back to the “Stuff” article I referred to yesterday I see I need to write a “blog full of great content.” Okay, I don’t think that sticking to my topic of “Blogging” will do that and I have six or seven categories (is that what they are?) on my menu so I must utilise them… I probably need to concentrate on just one or two of them to build up my “following” with folk that will be interested in what I write.

Mmmmm… food for thought… What are my categories?? There’s “Food”, “Photography”, “Home Restoration”, “Reflections & Meditations”, “Family History” as well as this one and “A Bit About Me”. So, if you are willing to be part of this “experiment” I’d love you to let me know which topic you are most likely to read about.

Firstly, let me clarify that I am not a wonderful chef or baker but do enjoy my lovely kitchen and sometimes I bring something out of my oven or to the table that I think is worth sharing.

Secondly, as you will know, if you have read any of my photography posts, that I am not an accomplished photographer but I do love learning about my camera and how to take the best shots.  I have been taking photos since I was a child (one or two years ago – ha! ha!) and I am happy to share any new skills learned and how to better use my camera with you – and experiments I may do to help me learn.

Thirdly, our home has been restored and I must finish those blogs as the house is now on the market and it would be great to complete that series before we sell and move on… to a home with NO maintenance or renovations!!

Fourthly, I love writing “Reflections and Meditations” and these flow very easily from my keyboard, not to mention a stockpile I can always draw on.

Fifthly, “Family History” is an interest which has lain dormant for the last few months but I will get back to it over the winter months (soon to be upon us here in New Zealand).  I know there are many, many blogs regarding this as information is so much more accessible today.  I will endeavour to “touch base” with like-minded family history bloggers and see where that leads…

And then I think I’ll add a further category, “New Zealand from a Kiwi’s Eye” or “Travel” (because I do desire to visit Australia this year and much further afield next year) or similar. I have seen much (most?) of New Zealand and love exploring the less “touristy” sights. My post “A wet & wild weekend” (which seems to have disappeared!) is an example of the type of experience I would take you on.

And that is sufficient for now.  I would love to hear from you with your thoughts…


Today I have been encouraged by a few “likes” of yesterday’s post, one new follower and even a couple of comments – thank you!

So the research began… I asked Mr Google “How to make money through blogging.” Well, as you can imagine, Mr G directed me to hundreds of sites – most of them foreign, which actually is fine being connected to the world-wide-web. And what did I find? Words and phrases like “affiliate links”, “native advertising”, “sponsored content”, “brand ambassador”, and so on. Oh gosh… so much more reading and research…

Now I am a loyal kiwi (New Zealander, for anyone over the seas reading this) so I added “New Zealand” to my search to localise my reading somewhat.  This narrowed the numbers down to two or three I chose to delve into deeper. And yay! I found just what I was looking for… a “Stuff” article “How to make money from your blog” dated just a couple of months ago.  The author said that (and I am not quoting as I don’t want to be accused of plagiarism) the enjoyment of blogging should not come primarily from making money – exactly my motivation. If I make money that will be a bonus to the fun of writing a blog regularly and having folk, like you, reading my rambles. I actually printed three pages of hints, comments and tips and will spend some time digesting these and considering what may work for me.

The first tip I make note of is “Be authentic” (Dictionary definition: of undisputed origin and not a copy; genuine.) Now that suits me fine because I think I would find it difficult to be anything less than genuine. Which means you can believe whatever I write – the way I see it!

I will add more tips from said “Stuff” article as I continue my quest for riches…

Just before I closed Mr Google I noticed a site (NZ) “Making Money…” and thought “aha, this could lead somewhere…” Admittedly it digressed from my goal of “making money though blogging” but I now have a list of five different but possible avenues to increase my income. I will also keep you updated on these (probably under another tag) if they produce any results.

So, as I close this little epistle, I am quite excited about where this venture will lead me…


Next steps…

Well, it’s been a whole 12 months since I blogged… how sad!!  Truth is, I’ve had so many other things to do and I was quite frustrated with my web site that it just got put in the “too hard”  or “later” or “when my time is my own again” basket.

In the “time lapse” I have finished the renovations of the house – gosh, I must finish those blog pages, too! My garden has also had a major make-over thanks to my son and daughter-in-law, but now that needs maintaining, of course! I also had another operation  in July but that’s no excuse for not blogging and, by the way, that one was very straight-forward without any complications! We also had to do a major sort-out within the house in preparation for sale and then went on holiday for a month.

And now, I have my menu sorted so things are even in order within my website – yay!!

So, where to now?? Making money from blogging is apparently something many folk do so I’m going to give it a go, too. I am not going to open a twitter or flickr or snapper or cheep (sorry, made up those last two) page or account so the money will have to be made through this site or my Facebook page.

It is my intention (and we all know about good intentions…) to write each and every day… mmmmm…. well, most days… in one of my several categories and see which reaps the most monetary benefits (if any). And I will now leave this page and hope I can attach it to the right menu.

Watch this space and I’ll keep an update of my rise in riches… 1 cent at a time…

A Wet and Wild Weekend on the West Coast

The forecast was for rain and wind so we were prepared with snow chains, tow ropes, food, 2 thermoses and extra clothes.  Early Friday afternoon we headed off in a westerly direction. The weather here in Christchurch was a little gloomy with the promise of much-needed rain. Somewhere through Arthur’s Pass we met the rain – but no snow or high winds so the chains and other equipment happily stayed in the back of the vehicle.

The rain increased as we neared our west coast destination – a chalet in an isolated spot somewhere between Greymouth and Punakaiki.  And it increased even more, as it would, being the west coast of NZ, when we arrived at our chalet.  There was a large puddle at the bottom of the steps making the entrance rather hazardous, not to mention the buckets of water let loose from above. I made a dash for the indoors while hubby, Jim, took the umbrella and proceeded to unload our bags. Ten minutes later he is standing in a welcome hot shower – his rain-drenched clothes in a pile on the floor!

A further ten minutes and I have a warm and dry hubby playing cards and enjoying a drink and nibbles before tea. And, although it’s only 5pm, it is dark outside – that is, until a lightning bolt attracts our attention, followed by the rumble of thunder not far away. A second or third lightning bolt lit the sky and the accompanying thunder was so loud it shook the chalet. Having experienced many earthquakes over the past few years, this was not dissimilar – with the addition of a massive boom!

Saturday morning arrived bright and sunny. “Check the tide times to see if it’s worth going up to the Pancake Rocks.” We have seen these a few times and, unless the tide was high, we thought we’d drive south to Hokitika instead of north to Punakaiki.

“Wow! It’s high at 10.45 – let’s go!” No debate here. With the seas raging after last night’s thunderstorm there was bound to be an awesome display!

We weren’t disappointed – the best display of blowholes and surge pools we’ve seen. Altho_MG_6540ugh it wasn’t raining Jim thought he’d be wise to wear a raincoat… mmm, he was right!

Wise man in his raincoat!

He avoided a second “wetting” though it was only

First time we’ve actually seen droplets of water coming out of the blowhole.

spray from the massive blowhole.

We enjoyed a coffee at the local cafe then headed south, calling in at a beach on the way to take some photos of the powerful waves at high tide.

Lunchtime at Greymouth… “Let’s eat on the breakwater and watch the waves.” Another photo opportunity… and another soaking … or two!

“Jim, stand over there and I’ll get a photo of you with a wave breaking behind you…” That wasn’t too bad – just a few salty drops to brush off…

Look closely and you may be able to see the water droplets heading directly for me! Those little dots in the sky and on the rocks…

Lunch eaten and cleared away; Jim relaxing with his book; time to take a few more photos… “I’ll get close-up of a wave breaking in front of me…”

Well, I hardly had time to focus the camera and …”Wooooo… I’m drenched!!” I didn’t see that coming… salt water all over me… I wonder if I got that photo?

I wanted a photo like this – only closer…

Time for me to change… right down to my underwear! I had packed a couple of towels in case we got to swim in the hot tub at the chalet (we didn’t), so pulled one of these out, dried myself as best I could, then Jim held the towel so I could change discreetly (we weren’t the only sight-seers!)

Next stop – The West Coast Treetop Walk, south of Hokitika. I had bought a couple of vouchers for this as it seemed a great thing to do while we were in the area. It wasn’t until I actually stepped off terra firma and on to to metal walkway that I suddenly remembered “I don’t like  heights!”

But I’ll just back-track a little to the path leading up to the start of the walkway… As Jim does, he was “inspecting” some posts loosely driven into the stoney ground on the edge of the path. He stood on some loose gravel that formed a sort-of step on the edge of this path and I heard a cry and turned to see him lying very precariously on the edge of a bank – probably a 30 metre bank. That could have been serious – no one else in sight, no cellphone coverage, I’m still not 100% recovered from my recent hospital visit… However, the man picked himself up, blamed the loose stones and carried on…

Now, back to my fear of heights… I had paid for this visit, I wasn’t going to back out now so onward and upward I went. It really wasn’t too bad… in fact, the views of the alps, snow-covered too,  were amazing. I just avoided looking down as much as possible as I repeated over and over, “I do not have a spirit of fear…” To be among the tall miro, matai, totara, rimu and kahikatea and to hear the birds calling was sure worth overcoming any apprehensions I had. And then, to cap it off, I made myself climb the 40 metre (250 steps, I think) tower.

A rather nervous smile!

My biggest fear on the way up was an earthquake… but Jim assured me that we would be in the safest place if that happened (sure, bud!!) Actually, the cantilevered path I found more disconcerting but I conquered that as well – but Jim had to take the photos!

Treetops tower.

Night in a motel and on Sunday morning we set out to explore Hokitika.  First stop, “Let’s go to the beach to see the waves…” I am forever hopeful that I will capture that “perfect” shot.

Well, it was not far from high tide. There was debris strewn over the road and the end of “Sunset Point” was barricaded off as waves were still crashing over.  We ventured on to the beach littered in driftwood and logs. Such a violent sea… so many photos… “Come and take one from this angle”. Jim is getting into the swing of things… “Watch out! Run!!” A wave surges up the beach and nearly gives his feet another dousing!

The wave that nearly got him!

And then the rain returns, so we head into town to do some “touristy” things.  David, at the museum, is very absorbing and enthusiastic and persuades us to part with $6 each and venture in – a visit well-worth the time and cost. We run out of time to continue our explorations but decide we’ll visit again and tick the boxes we weren’t able to this time.

Home is about 4 hours away … I am not looking forward to what I know will be waiting for us…  You see, we have this elusive leaking roof (well, the leak is elusive) and I know there has been a considerable fall of rain in Christchurch (much needed) while we’ve been enjoying our weekend escape… and I forgot to put the bowl under said leak…