Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sunsets and sunrise at Syme Hut, Mt Taranaki

With a long weekend due to ANZAC day, and the weather forecast not looking too shabby, Aaron and I thought we would attempt to climb Mt Taranaki. As we were driving up on Friday the weather was pretty bad, and was pouring with rain when we got to the carpark at Dawson's Falls. We stayed the night at Konini Lodge nearby and hoped that the sunny weather forecast for Saturday and Sunday was correct. After an interesting night chatting to a couple of hunters and another tramper, we woke to clear skies and calm.
Clear skies over Fanthams Peak (left) and Mt Taranaki (right)

We set off through the goblin forest and then progressed rapidly up many, many steps through several different vegetation zones. The clouds had drifted in, but we eventually broke through as we reached the final scree slope towards Fantham Peak.

Goblin forest

Walking up the steps in the alpine grasses

Ascending the frustrating scree above the clouds.

We reached Syme Hut on Fantham Peak for an early lunch. While having lunch other trampers arrived. We dumped our overnight gear and then headed up the south side of Mt Taranaki. The scree wasn't too bad, but it was steep and it just kept getting steeper! We got above 2300 m and it was very steep and the ground below the scree was frozen, so it was like walking on marbles.... after Aaron took a bit of a slide towards a steep gully, we decided to retreat. Frustratingly less than 200 m from the top, but it was pretty dicey to descend and we had quite a few falls and bum slides. Aaron ripped his trousers and we both have a nice collection of scrapes and bruises. 

Approaching Syme Hut

Looking back down the south slope of Mt Taranaki to Fanthams Peak and Syme Hut and the surrounding forest and farmland below

We returned to Syme Hut to find a box of ANZAC cookies and easter eggs left by our tramping friends. We devoured several cookies and chocolate eggs with our well deserved cup of tea.

There were a lot more cookies, but we ate quite a few before we took the photo...

The rest of the afternoon was spent reading books and hanging out (eating more cookies). We watched the spectacular sunset and took a lot of photos before a romantic candle-lit dinner! Oh how romantic and we had the hut to ourselves ;)

Sunset (and me) reflecting in the windows for Syme Hut

With no curtains in the hut we woke to another amazing sunrise with Mt Tongariro, Nguarahoe and Ruapehu on the horizon. We headed down a slightly frozen, sketchy scree slope and back down to the steps and bush below with very few clouds we had great views the whole way down.

Mt Tongariro, Nguarahoe and Ruapehu above the clouds 

So although Mt Taranaki defeated us again... we had a great weekend. It gives us an excuse to come back and try again another weekend..... 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Andrea and Annabel visit NZ

After several weeks of glorious weather, my brother Andy and his family - Clare, Andrea and Annabel - arrived on a foggy and wet day. Luckily by 3pm the fog had lifted enough to let them land at the airport after lots of cancelled flights in the morning - including the delay of the royal flight with William, Kate and George. Unfortunately the wet weather continued for most of their stay! However, the hardy scottish Bostock's didn't seem too bothered as compared to the Aberdeen winter it was seemed almost tropical! 

We have been in to town a few times on a big easter egg hunt - painted large easter eggs by well known New Zealand artists - a fundraiser for the Auckland Starship Children's hospital. We have found 13 of the 30 eggs in Wellington - they will see one final one at the international airport as they leave.

I love Annabel's face at the thought of her dad kissing another woman!

We have visited the zoo, the botanic gardens and been to a couple of the museums in town on the really rainy days. Andrea and Annabel happily played on the beach in the rain, while Andy and Clare went for a swim. I also introduced them to New Zealand tramping at Otaki Forks in the Tararuas. We did a short walk around the area, checking out the big swing bridge over the Otaki River. We then stayed at Parawai Hut overnight (along with a few mice). Today (the only genuinely sunny day) they have headed over to Matiu-Somes Island on the ferry to explore.  
Andrea and Annabel at the zoo which recently acquired Tasmanian Devils

Building sandcastles 
Clare and Annabel on the suspension bridge over the Otaki River

Having survived the night at Parawai Hut

They head home over the Easter weekend (after an early easter egg hunt in the garden). Thank you for coming all this way to spend your school holidays with me. I hope you had as much fun as I did. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014


The blog has been a bit quiet lately. I started school at the beginning of March and haven't done much exciting except go to class. Helen was out at sea for half of March as well.

School was a bit slow at first, but we are starting to learn quite a bit now. Right now we are studying about building law, how to prepare a design brief and how to draw using SketchUp.

Here is a cottage we had to draw for one of our assignments:

Colonial Cottage