Grateful old bolts and cables held

Arapuni Suspension Bridge, Waikato, NZ. Images: Su Leslie 2018

The Arapuni Suspension Bridge was built in the late 1920s so that workers building the Arapuni Hydro Dam could get from the construction site to their accommodation in the village.

These days it’s part of the Waikato River Trails walk and cycle way.

Posted to Debbie’s Six Word Saturday at Travel with Intent.

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The Changing Seasons: February 2017

Cows and a bull grazing on a hillside against brilliant blue sky. Seen on the Awhitu Peninsula, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Another roadside attraction … Seen on the Awhitu Peninsula, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

The Big T was overseas for 18 of February’s 28 days, so it was a raggedy month where life’s normal rhythms skipped a bit.

A growing disaffection with Auckland’s rampant urbanisation, overcrowding and endless traffic congestion has driven me (at painfully low speed) from the city as often as I could get away. Trips to Karekare, the Awhitu Peninsula, the Waikato and even the Helensville A&P Show are all part of a quest to reconnect with the parts of Aotearoa New Zealand that the Big T and I love and feel connected to.

This post is my contribution to The Changing Seasons, a monthly challenge hosted by Cardinal Guzman. Please visit to see the Cardinal’s month, and find links to other participants.

There are two versions of the challenge:

Version 1 (The Changing Seasons V1):

Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
Each month, post 5-20 photos in a gallery.
Don’t use photos from your archive. Only new shots.

Version 2 (The Changing Seasons V2):

Tag your posts with #MonthlyPhotoChallenge and #TheChangingSeasons
Each month, post one photo (recipe, painting, drawing, whatever) that represents your interpretation of the month.
Don’t use archive stuff. Only new material!

DP Photo Challenge: “the vantage point of distance”

Autumn at Lake Waikere, Te Kauwhata, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Lake Waikare, Te Kauwhata, NZ. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

My little escape to the Waikato is over and I’m back at my desk. Although the sun is still shining today, I’m already missing the big skies and expansive views that both dwarfed and nestled me while I was away.

State Highway 1, and the Waikato, from the Beaver Road motorway overbridge, Pokeno. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

“The end of Auckland.” State Highway 1, and south to the Waikato from the Nikau Road over-bridge. Image: Su Leslie, 2016.

It is sometimes said that “real” New Zealand begins south of the Bombay Hills, which mark the place where southern Auckland becomes northern Waikato. I spent some of the happiest of my early years in a small South Waikato town, and still get a rush of longing  when I feel I’ve left Auckland behind.

SH 26 with Mt Te Aroha in the background. Waikato, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Where is everyone? Mt Te Aroha, seen from State Highway 26, at Morrinsville, Waikato, New Zealand. Image: Su Leslie, 2016.

Traffic congestion is one of the things I find most stressful in my current life. I hate the environmental impact of thousands of semi-stationery cars and I hate the waste of my time and emotional energy; trapped in my car, or planning alternative routes and workarounds. New Zealand isn’t a huge country, but there are so many places where traffic isn’t a problem — what are we doing wrong?

Waikato River flowing through Cambridge, South Waikato. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Waikato River flowing through Cambridge, South Waikato. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

I am happiest near water, and while I’ve been a long way from the coast for the last couple of days (relatively speaking — this is New Zealand), I spent time by the Waikato River, and finally “found” Lake Waikare — which I’ve glimpsed hundreds of times from the car. Apparently it’s less than two metres deep — and sadly, quite polluted. It did look lovely from my vantage point though (1).

The Waikato River, late afternoon, with the Mercer Ferry bridge in the background. Image: Su Leslie, 2016

Late afternoon. The Waikato River at Mercer. Image: Su Leslie, 2016.

 Life is like a landscape. You live in the midst of it but can describe it only from the vantage point of distance. — Charles Lindbergh

Despite the brevity of my time away, I think I have achieved some of the clarity that Lindbergh talked about. I don’t know what the future is going to look like, but I do know that it’s easier to plan when I’m not in the middle of everything that isn’t working any more.

This post was written for the Daily Post Photo Challenge. The theme is landscape.

(1) Waikato Regional Council.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Six Word Saturday: out of town for the day

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Detail, Italian Renaissance Garden at Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton, New Zealand. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Italian Renaissance Garden at Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton, New Zealand. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

Italian Renaissance Garden at Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton, New Zealand. Photo: Su Leslie, 2015

The Big T and I headed out of Auckland for the day to visit Hamilton Gardens (voted International Garden of the Year 2014). A four hour round trip — but totally worth it.