Part 3…Road trip…Many new photos on a perfect day!…A Kiwi railway and visit to yesteryear…

Kiwi Rail locomotive.

As we began to wrap up our visit to Eltham, NZ, we made a few last stops, one to check out the Kiwi Railway and another to enter the historic former bank which is now an interesting shop filled with items from another era.

The cars behind the locomotive are flat cars with containers ready to load.

Tom, having spent 42 years working for the railroad, is often curious about railways in our travels. No, he’s not obsessed with railroad memorabilia by any means, although he certainly enjoys a railroad TV show, Hell on Wheels, which he’s been watching weekly here in NZ. 

A sign on the railroad property.

However, his ears perk up when we pass a moving train, a railroad depot, or train yard. How could he not show interest after spending 42 years of his life in this line of work? On each such occasion, I’m happy to investigate with him, taking photos and stopping to read signs.

As we entered the antique shop in the old Eltham Bank building, we found a “living room” set up with each item for sale.

Visiting both of these venues proves appealing to both of us when we easily revel in each other’s interests. As we entered the former bank’s antique shop, he was particularly interested in their myriad items when so many brought back memories of his childhood. 

This fox (or another animal) neck wrap brought back memories for both of us.

For me, growing up in California, I was only able to connect with a few items when my exposure growing up in California was more about modern conveniences with few antiques. As a kid, we had a washer, dryer, dishwasher, swimming pool, and color TV as soon as they become available. Plus, living in a warm climate made life a lot easier.

Prices aren’t as high as in other such shops we’ve visited in our travels. 

Tom, growing up in frigid Minnesota from a large family, experienced an entirely different upbringing. As a result, his memory of many of the items in the antique shop held more significance to him.

Second-hand furs and dressy dresses are offered for sale. You can see me taking the photo in the mirror above the chest of drawers. I hadn’t noticed that until now as I prepared the caption.

Certain items did trigger some memories for each of us, such as the taxidermy fur neck wrap worn by our long since passed away elderly family members, the type with the head of the fox or other animal at one end, the tail at the other. 

Every table and surface is covered with items for sale.

We cringed at the concept of fur neck wraps, but our hearts were warmed by the memories of those family members; the smell of their perfume, the warmth of their demeanor, of a time, long since past.

Beads are hanging from this taxidermy deer.

We wonder what it will be like in the next 50 years or so when our grandchildren peruse items we wore and used in our lives, perhaps laughing over the peculiar styles and technology. 

A spiral staircase leads to a second level. The owner of the shop was on her phone the entire time we were in the store. We took photos and left without talking to her.

Many people thrive on memorabilia and antiques. Tom has always expressed a certain interest while I’ve always been more fascinated with technology. For us, it’s a good mix and we easily embrace opportunities to visit venues with detailed information and access to one another’s particular interests. 

Most likely, this is the original bank vault.

Overall, in our travels, we’ve observed a greater emphasis on the “old” than on the “new” with endless historic sites prevalent in most cultures. We’ve yet to encounter anything that remotely compares to the International Consumer Electronics Show held in Las Vegas each year or any such technology show of any type.

Back on the street, we found this antique tractor.

In any case, I’ve found myself with a degree of interest in many antiques, historical sites, and venues, especially when I have the opportunity to take photos which in itself greatly enhances the experience in many ways.

Today with bad weather, we’ll most likely stay “home.” It’s raining, windy and dreary. At the moment, the fog is so dense we can’t see the alpacas in a nearby paddock. 

We hope you have a pleasant day with a ray of sunshine on your face.

Photo from one year ago today, April 2, 2015:

This sunset photo we took one year ago in Kauai made us squeal with delight! How magical! Click here for more such photos.

Part 2…Road trip…Many new photos on a perfect day!…Historical buildings…

The name of this quaint building in Eltham, NZ wasn’t posted.  It may be a private residence.

After our visit to the Fonterra Cheese Factory in Eltham, New Zealand, we drove through the side streets finding one historical building after another. 

We assumed this structure located across the street from the Fonterra Cheese retail store was the cheese manufacturing plant.

At several points, we parked the car to walk along the streets to peer into windows of the old buildings and further investigate their origins as we took photos, many of which required I cross to the other side of the street to get a better shot.

The 1897 Eltham Argus building.

We were in awe of the quaint personality of the small town with a population (as of the last census in 2006) of under 2000 residents as stated below in this quote from Wikipedia:

“Eltham is a small inland town in South Taranaki, New Zealand, located 50 kilometres (31 mi) south of the city of New Plymouth and southeast of the volcanic cone of Mount Taranaki/Egmont. Stratford is 11 kilometres (6.8 mi) north, Kaponga 13 km west, and Hawera is 19 km (12 mi) south. State Highway 3 runs through the town. 

There’s our little rental car parked in front of the former Eltham Bank (with Tom on the left), now converted to a unique antique shop. Photos will follow tomorrow with some interesting antique items we spotted in this location.

Eltham is South Taranaki’s second largest town. Population was 1980 in the 2006 Census, a decrease of 120 from 2001.

The former Post and Telegraph Office is for sale.

Eltham is known as the cradle of the Taranaki dairy industry (the co-operative system in particular), and for being the one place in New Zealand that manufactured rennet which is important in cheese making. It was also the first place to export butter to England.

An old phone booth with a sign stating it was one cent to make a call. The windows were too old and cloudy to take a photo of the interior.

Settlement began in Eltham in the 1870s with blocks of densely forested land being taken up mainly to the north of Mountain Road. A profusion of sawmilling companies cleared the district which when grassed was found to be ideal for dairy farming.

The 1914 Wilkinson’s Buildings includes a variety of shops, restaurants, and offices.

In 1884, the year Eltham was declared a town district, settlers, mainly from England, arrived there and the town had a population of 25. Eltham was declared a borough in 1901, and became part of South Taranaki District with the local body amalgamations of 1989.”

We’d have gone inside to see the interior of the Eltham District Historical Society but they were closed for lunch.

Unquestionably, discovering that Eltham is the second largest town in South Taranaki left us smiling. We love small towns and felt at ease as we wandered the streets, people warmly greeting us, although it was obvious we were outsiders. That’s the nature of the people of New Zealand.

Tom couldn’t help but notice this street rod (circa, the 1930s) traveling on the quiet street.

Interspersed among many of the old buildings are a few newer esthetically appealing buildings where businesses and manufacturing are comingled in an entirely natural manner. Whether it was an antique shop, a beauty salon, a post office, or a train yard, it all blends well into a fine mix of old and new.

A dairy store, supermarket and chemist, and others are available for the needs of the local residents with little influence geared toward tourists, although we spotted a few quaint hotels as shown in this photo below.

The still-operational Coronation Hotel was built in 1902.  For more information on historic properties in Eltham, please click here.

It always amazes us how much we enjoy these types of excursions, exploring places we’ve never been as we attempt to imagine the lives of the people who live in such a small town such as Eltham.

This is 1911, ESI Energy Services International Building, most likely the electric company.

And today, on April Fool’s Day, with the local news on the TV in the background, Tom can’t stop laughing over the good humor on the broadcast, much of which wouldn’t be considered as “politically correct” in some countries including the US. 

This is the newer post office built to fit well with the older buildings.

Although Kiwis are respectful under all circumstances in regards to racial and physical differences, they certainly have the ability to find humor in many other topics that freely elicit laughter. 

Painting on side of the building in Eltham, NZ.

With little crime in New Zealand, ranked as the fourth safest country in the world, everywhere we visit we feel comfortable and at ease. Add the element of its kind and generous people, Eltham was certainly no exception.  It was truly a great experience.

Wherever you live or visit, may today bring you pleasant experiences with the people in your town.

Photo from one year ago today, April 1, 2015:

A downed tree on Anina Beach in Kauai. Children were playing off to the right as we lounged in our Costco beach chairs. For more details, please click here.

Part 1…Road trip…Many new photos on a perfect day!

The sign outside the Fonterra Cheese Factory and retail store in Eltham, New Zealand.

With many cloudy days over these past few months, getting out to explore on a sunny day has been limited.  When any particular day started sunny, we’d plan to head out as soon as we finished posting. Invariably, by the time we’ve completed the post around 11:00 am, the clouds would start rolling in and we’d change our plans, hoping for another day.

As I’ve mentioned on many occasions, I don’t like taking photos on cloudy days. I’m just not that good of a photographer to do a great job, nor do I have an interest in spending hours editing dark photos, as more talented photographers may choose to tackle.

There are several refrigerated cases with a wide array of New Zealand made and Fonterra Cheese Factory made cheeses. We only purchased cheese made at the factory when we can easily purchase the others at the local grocery stores.

Based on the fact that we take over 10,000 photos a year, spending time editing photos could take a few more hours each day. When we don’t usually finish posting until around 11:00 am seven days a week, adding a few more hours editing photos each day would definitely cut into the time we prefer to spend doing other things.

Yesterday morning, awakening to a totally clear sky without a single cloud in sight, we knew it was a good day to get out. I hurried through the post using all new photos (most often all of our photos are new unless referencing a past experience), hung a load of laundry on the line and we were out the door before 11:00 am.

We’d never seen these “fruit pastes” which most likely are jam type items.

Over the past few months, we’ve had a few places in mind, we hoped to visit; the Fonterra Cheese Factory in Eltham and also the town of Stratford, fashioned with a Shakespearean theme. As it turned out we saw much more which we’ll share over these next several days.

Small jars of a variety of locally made chutneys, mustards and sauces.  In reviewing the ingredient’ list on these items, most contained sugar or starches.

Actually, over a month ago, we headed out with the same two towns in mind getting sidetracked, which resulted in a visit to Mount Taranaki which took most of the day. We decided we’d visit Eltham and Stratford another time, but only on a sunny day.

It’s a good thing we chose yesterday for the visit to these two towns since this morning, it was again cloudy as shown in this morning’s photo below. We weren’t disappointed when it stayed clear and cool all day, a perfect day for an outing.

We were happy we decided to go on yesterday’s road trip when this morning, it was cloudy and now raining.

The furthest of the two towns is Eltham where the well known cheese factory is located. Keeping in mind that cheese is one of the few treats I can eat, a plan to visit a factory with a wide array of locally made cheeses has been of particular interest in our worldwide travels.

This was only the third such occasion when we visited a cheese factory/specialty store; one in Belize as shown in this post and on another occasion when we visited Rusty’s Market, a huge farmers market and tourist attraction in Cairns, Australia, to find an extensive cheese vendor on site which prompted us to purchase a huge amount of exotic cheeses as shown in this post.

If we had more time before leaving New Plymouth, we’d surely have purchased one of these avocado oils.

Its not as if we can make an outing for food items other travelers may find worth a long drive; a special restaurant, a popular ice cream parlor or a bakery known for its sweets and bread. 

For our way of eating only these specialty venues work for us including a farmer’s market for fresh produce; a grass fed meat market; a fish wholesaler open to the public; a cheese factory or distributor; and a health food store.

Locally made oils.

When there’s an opportunity to visit any of these types of shops we’re as excited to do so as others may be when there’s “food on a stick” at a state fair or visiting a special restaurant known for foods that don’t work for us.

Yesterday, was no exception when we entered the Fonterra Cheese Factory. Although many of their options in the refrigerated displays were New Zealand made cheeses one may find at the local grocery stores, we asked the staff person to point out the cheeses that were made exclusively at their factory. No tours are offered or we’d definitely have participated.

Old newspaper articles about the cheese factory in Eltham.

After spending NZ $41, US $28, we were surprised how much we actually purchased. We didn’t go overboard in our purchase considering we’ll be leaving New Plymouth two weeks from tomorrow. 

Our day consisted of many more surprises delightful experiences as we continued on our day long tour of the exquisite countryside. We even encountered some funny animals during our fun filled day. More on that yet to come.

We purchased five packages of cheese including that huge round of Brie. I ate part of the smoked Havarti in the car while Tom ate this mint ice cream bar.  We were “out and about” when there are no “rules”  or comments from me on what he chooses to eat. He said it wasn’t that good after all.

May you share experiences with others, whether big or small, with enthusiasm and joy in your heart.

Photo from one year ago today, March 31, 2015:

A lazy day sitting under a tree with a cold beverage and good book is all many visitors to Kauai require for a glorious vacation. Not everyone is into adventure hikes and sightseeing. Many tourists come to the islands to get away from a “must do” lifestyle preferring to relax and unwind. Lounging on the beach, dining in a popular restaurants and drinking Mai Tai’s is all some travelers need for the perfect vacation. For more details, please click here.