Introduction to Touring New Zealand 2015
This years write up is running very late as we have been concentrating on bringing the whole web site up to date, or more correctly making it more accessible from the latest computers with very wide screens and from the latest smart phones and tablets. In particular this this effects all our existing travel pages which have popup pictures as popups do not work well on mobile devices with touch screens. This years write up will be the first to be written specifically for the latest web site design and for HTML5, the latest web standard. This is the first major change since HTML 4.01 which was 15 years ago so you can imagine the changes that have to be made to comply - fortunately all current browsers are very tolerant so the user will rarely notice but that may not be the case in 5 years time! What does it mean for this years "News from the Antipodes". No longer will the norm be popup pictures in a new window when one clicks a picture - instead they will use an overlay effect which is usually called a 'lightbox' after the first one developed nearly a decade ago. This automatically scales for small screens on mobile devices and can also give the ability to move from picture to picture as a gallery like a slide show. Extra information is provided as before if you hover over the 'icons' on a computer but there is no such concept on a touch sensitive device so all the information appears as a subtitle on the overlay. At the risk of overloading users they can still switch to popups which work very well on computers and also reduce bandwidth by removing the gallery facility which preloads images. For most of you - just leave it alone. For power users try the various options at the bottom right of the new pages.
Coming back to this years travelogue - it will be written up as we go. They started as a regular series of lighthearted Emails sent out as "News from The Antipodes" where the text was written on a palmtop and copied into the emails with little polishing and only a superficial spell check. This year they will mostly be prepared on Pete's new Chillblast Defiant 13.3" laptop with inputs from Pauline's MSI Wind, both running Linux for security on the move. We have usually patched in a lot from previous years to make each year self contained. This year we will initially have to concentrate on the new things and link back although that may risk some inconsistencies in presentation. We add pictures as we go, mainly from our Canon A720 IS cameras although the Pete's new Samsung Galaxy S3 Neo smart phone has a camera which is very good provided one does not need a lot of zoom. We have also always tried to reuse the best previous pictures from earlier years, old film and some stills from Peter's various digital video cameras. The older non digital camera pictures are not consistent with use of the lightbox overlay and mixing with popups as we have been forced to do on older pages can only be a short term solution. There are however some 250 travel pages to sort out!
Enjoy what we have so far.
- Introduction and Summary
- Part 1 - The journey from the UK, Auckland, Waiheke, Rotorua, and and Taumaranui
- Part 2 - The Forgotten World Highway (SH43) , Stratford, Wanganui Town, a trip on the Wairua Whanganui Riverboat and Himotangi Beach
- Part 3 - The Tokomaru Steam Museum and Wellington
- Part 4 - Martinborough (Vineyards), the Carnival Park Domain at Pahiatua, Eskdale and Wairoa
- Part 5 - Napier and Art Deco Weekend
- Part 6 - Athenree Hot Springs, Paranui and Broken Hills Goldfields Goldfields
- Part 7 - Coromandel Peninsular, Kauri Forests, Bay of Islands, Sandspit and Cyclone Pam
After each visit we also try to extract more from the chronological organisation and consolidate the content into specific pages. Some background pages which may be of interest are:
- New Zealand Wines, Wineries and Vineyard Restaurants - brings together our favourite vineyards to visit. Selection is not solely the on the quality of the wine but is biased towards those with good vineyard restaurants, magnificent scenery and a friendly and helpful approach.
Best viewed on a desktop or laptop
- Active Thermal Areas - New Zealand is also an area which is very active geologically and has a number of fascinating thermal areas which we have visited. Best viewed on a desktop or laptop
- Goldmining was important at the turn of the century and there are many goldfields with structures still standing. In five parts bringing together our information on New Zealand Gold, Goldmining Techniques and Goldfields gathered whilst touring, mostly in Otago, The West Coast and the Coromandel.
Best viewed on a desktop or laptop
- Kauri, both logging and the gathering and use of it's gum were important and form another unique part of New Zealand history worthy of investigation. We document our visits to some of the remaining forests, historic areas and museums. Best viewed on a desktop or laptop
- Maori History and Culture in 5 parts. The Maori were the first settlers in New Zealand and first came from Polynesia about 1000 years ago. The occupied almost every area of New Zealand long before the Pakeha (European) missionaries, traders and settlers arrived and there were over 6000 Pa, fortified villages, by that time. They still have a very strong culture of their own with many traditions which flourish today. The numbers are now rising after a long period of decline and there are currently over 500,000 Maori, about 16% of the population. Best viewed on a desktop or laptop
- Taranaki and the Forgotten World Highway - This covers our stays at Mountain House and the Stratford area, walks on Mount Egmont/Taranaki from the Mountain House area, Dawson falls and scenic drives on the SH43 from Taranaki to Taumarunui, known as the Forgotten World Highway which passes through the independent Republic of Whagamomina. Best viewed on a desktop or laptop.
- The Whanganui River Story The story of the River and the river boats that served it.
- The Tokomaru Steam Engine Museum A comprehensive appreciation of the museum drawing on material supplied by the owners. Best viewed on a desktop or laptop
- Other Pages of interest include:
- Our New Zealand Book List: We have built up a library of books on New Zealand during our visits and have initiated a catalogue which will be extended in due course. Our books cover many topics from Sailing and Fishing through the Goldfields and Art Deco to Maori Culture. (Almost up to date!)
- A list of Interesting Web Sites: We have found a number of useful Web sites on New Zealand that you may want to have a look at. They range from sources of maps to follow our travels to details of the treaty of Waitangi. They are the sites on our "favourites" lists and the ones we go back to and those used by the locals for everything from finding a telephone number to booking a train. There are brief comments on each site.