Waiheke Island, New Zealand


No, we didn’t leave Auckland and suddenly arrive in Tuscany (although it looks that way) – these are olive trees on Waiheke Island, New Zealand, belonging to the initial olive oil producer there, Rangihoua Estate


Located one-half hour from Auckland by ferry, the “Wine Island” of Waiheke is far removed from the city’s bustling urban ambiance.  Rolling hills, abundant sunshine and the sea breeze off the Hauraki Gulf combine to create ideal growing conditions for grapes and olive trees.  An abundance of wineries produce a range of intensely flavored varietals, from elegant, floral syrahs and deeply colored Cabernet Sauvignons to refreshing Sauvignon Blancs and Viogniers.  We anchored off the Maitiatia Wharf on Matiatia Bay on the far western end of the island.



The tasting room and factory (on the ground floor) for the world class EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) produced by Rangihoua Estate, Waiheke Island, New Zealand


We spent a day exploring several of the island’s wine and olive oil producers.  Our initial stop was at the first olive oil producer on Waiheke, Rangihoua Estate. Rangihoua manages 4,200 olive trees and produces internationally acclaimed extra virgin olive oil.  Our visit included a tour of the olive groves, presentations about harvesting and olive oil production techniques, and an olive oil tasting to appreciate their range of freshly produced EVOO (extra virgin olive oils).  Rangihoua took home gold and silver awards at the Royal Easter Show 2016, and was named in the Flos Olei 2017 guide book of the world’s best olive oils.  We liked the Waiheke Blend EVOO so much we bought some to bring back to our apartment’s kitchen on the ship



An Italian-made olive oil press which is at the heart of the production of excellent EVOO (extra virgin olive oil) at Rangihoua Estate, Waiheke Island, New Zealand


We liked the Waiheke Blend EVOO so much we bought some to bring back to our apartment’s kitchen on the ship, Rangihoua Estate, Waiheke Island, New Zealand




Vineyards at Stonyridge Vineyards where the first vines were planted in 1982 and 1983, among some of the first on Waiheke Island, New Zealand


Our next stop was a tour and wasting with the winemaker at Stonyridge Vineyards.  Well-known for its Bordeaux-style cabernet blends, Stonyridge Vineyards has employed traditional French winemaking methods since its very first harvest in 1985.  Two years later, they drew international appeal with their top-rated Larose.  The on-site Veranda Café serves appetizers, salads, entrées and desserts accompanied by Stonyridge varietals



The award winning Stonyridge Vineyards Larose was the best Bordeaux-style red wine we tasted on this trip around New Zealand – its price, now about US$300 for the current release (2014), reflects the wine’s ratings at the top of the country’s red wines, Waiheke Island, New Zealand



The vines at Te Whau Vineyard overlook Hitapa Bay, Waiheke Island, New Zealand


Our final stop was at Te Whau Vineyard and their restaurant where we had a delicious lunch accompanied by several of their wines.  A recipient of Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence as “One of the Best Restaurants in the World for Wine Lovers,” Te Whau specializes in fresh New Zealand and Pacific Rim cuisine.  Located on the top level of the Te Whau winery, this award winning restaurant features first-rate New Zealand labels, a collection of contemporary wines to accompany meals and spectacular views of Hitapa Bay.



Several different vintages of the top Te Whau Vineyard red wine, The Point, is served at the winery’s namesake restaurant that overlooks Hitapa Bay, Waiheke Island, New Zealand


Auckland, New Zealand


A view of the Central Business District of Auckland, New Zealand, from Viaduct Harbor, near the cruise and passenger ferry piers


Auckland, on the North Island of New Zealand, is the most populous urban area in the country with a population of 1,495,000, which constitutes 32 percent of New Zealand’s population.  Consistently ranked among the most livable cities in the world — and New Zealand’s largest by far — Auckland’s dazzling beaches, sunny climate, and profusion of parks, trails and vineyards are all within reach of the culturally dense Auckland Central.  With a Polynesian background and a modern passion for food, wine and shopping, it is easy to see why the “City of Sails” is such a favorite.  “A diverse and multicultural city, Auckland is home to the largest Polynesian population in the world.  The Māori language name for Auckland is Tāmaki or Tāmaki-makau-rau, meaning “Tāmaki with a hundred lovers”, in reference to the desirability of its fertile land at the hub of waterways in all directions.” – Wikipedia



The historic 19th century Ferry Building on the quay by the cruise and passenger ferry piers, Auckland, New Zealand



New development along the harbor in the Wynyard Quarter (a current redevelopment project – look at all the cranes!) includes the ASB (sponsored) Waterfront Theater (for the NZ Opera, etc.) and the new ASB headquarters building, Auckland, New Zealand



The Te Wero Bridge is a pedestrian only draw bridge (all boats have priority!) connecting the waterfront piers with the redevelopment area of the Wynyard Quarter, Auckland, New Zealand


We had the opportunity to explore an up and coming new neighborhood in Auckland – the Wynyard quarter.  After visiting the Auckland fish market and procuring some great fresh, local seafood for our kitchen on the ship, we enjoyed a nice restaurant luncheon.   In the evening we attended the NZ Opera performance of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “Mikado” in the new ASB Waterfront Theater (that opened three months ago).

“The Wynyard Quarter is a reclaimed piece of land on the Waitemata Harbour at the western edge of the Auckland waterfront, New Zealand…  As of 2012, a good part of the area [was] still covered by petrol and liquid chemical storage facilities of Ports of Auckland Ltd (POAL) and various other companies, that gave the area its now slowly disappearing “Tank Farm” moniker.  However, major changes are underway, with the area intended to be redeveloped into a mixed-use residential-commercial area, with a major park to run along the northern headland and up to the point.  As one of the first changes, the eastern section of the Quarter, as well as one of the main west-east roads running across it, were revitalised with new office and entertainment/restaurant areas, with several major projects finishing in time for the Rugby World Cup 2011 tournament.” — Wikipedia



The new ASB (Australian Savings Bank which is now internationally owned) headquarters building is a standout example of contemporary architecture in the Wynyard Quarter, Auckland, New Zealand



Details of the exterior decorations and window “shades” on the new ASB headquarters building in the Wynyard Quarter, Auckland, New Zealand



A close up of the “aquarium” window coverings on the new ASB headquarters building in the Wynyard Quarter, Auckland, New Zealand



Another striking modern building at the entrance to the Wynyard Quarter is the popular ANZ (Australia – New Zealand Bank sponsored) Viaduct Events Center, Auckland, New Zealand



Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand


The 2011 expansion with majestic Kauri (native tree) columns and roof, complementing the original 1887 gallery building, houses seven centuries of New Zealand art at the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand


“Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki is the principal public gallery in Auckland, New Zealand, and has the most extensive collection of national and international art in New Zealand.  It frequently hosts traveling international exhibitions.  Set below the hilltop Albert Park in the central-city area of Auckland, the gallery was established in 1888 as the first permanent art gallery in New Zealand.   The building originally housed the Auckland Art Gallery as well as the Auckland public library.” — Wikipedia



The museum’s atrium in the new wing hosts annually changing sculpture exhibitions, hung from the kauri wood paneled ceiling, Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand; the Māori sign in the entry says: “Nau mai , haere mai” (“Welcome”)


“The main gallery building was originally designed by Melbourne architects Grainger & D’Ebro to house not only the art gallery but also the City Council offices, lecture theatre and public library.  It is constructed of brick and plaster in an early French Renaissance style and was completed in 1887, with an extension built in 1916…  In the late 2000s, a major extension was mooted, which caused substantial criticism from some quarters due to its cost, design and the fact that land from Albert Park would be required for the extension.  In late 2007, the Gallery closed for extensive renovations, and re-opened on 3 September 2011…  The expansion design by Australian architecture firm FJMT in partnership with Auckland-based Archimedia, increased exhibition space by 50%, for up to 900 artworks, and provided dedicated education, child and family spaces.  As part of the upgrade, existing parts of the structure were renovated and restored to its 1916 state – amongst other things ensuring that the 17 different floor levels in the building were reduced to just 6.  The redevelopment has to date received 17 architectural and 6 design-related awards, including the World Architecture Festival’s 2013 World Building of the Year.” — Wikipedia



The Kauri wood panels in the entries to the galleries are all carved in Māori designs, Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand


“We are Auckland’s wharenui (home) for authentic and meaningful engagement with art for all.” – aucklandartgallery.com



Kura Te Waru Rewiri (born 1950), “Te Tohu Tuatahi”, 1991 (acrylic on board), draws a powerful continuum between the past and present; at the painting’s center is a cross motif, the mark used by many Māori signatories to sign New Zealand’s founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi on 6 February 1840; Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand


Kura Te Waru Rewiri (born 1950), the artist who painted “Te Tohu Tuatahi” in 1991 and was raised in Waitangi — the first site of the signing of New Zealand’s founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi on 6 February 1840 — commented at that time, “I paint about the Treaty now, wishing for ideals of racial harmony, equal opportunity, recognition of a pact for partnership to become reality.”



The former Auckland public library was stripped of its tall bookshelves and restored to its 19th century architectural design and added to the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand, in the 2011 expansion



Daniel Malone (born 1970), “Tititangi Apocrypha”, 2015 (mixed media), Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand


Daniel Malone (born 1970), returned from Warsaw, Poland, in 2015 to undertake the McCahon House Artist Residency in Titirangi, Auckland.  The purpose built McCahon House is located adjacent to New Zealand’s most famous painter’s (Colin McCahon, 1919 – 1987) former home.  Malone’s “Tititangi Apocrypha”, 2015 (mixed media), pays homage to Colin McCahon’s paintings, as the present day artist filters McCahon’s interests and achievements through his own.



The atrium of the 2011 extension to the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand, photographed from above in Albert Park



One of the beautiful native kauri columns supporting the roof at the back of the new extension to the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand, abutting Albert Park


“The team looked at the existing character of the park [Albert Park] and utilised this to create linkages between the building, the park and the surrounding streets.  New landscaped terraces and paved platforms form a smooth pedestrian connection between Kitchener Street and Albert Park.  One of the most distinctive features of the new building is its roof design, which forms a series of fine ‘tree-like’ canopies that define and cover the Forecourt, North Atrium and gallery areas.  Between the terraces and the roof canopy of kauri wood, large windows allow a view from the Gallery’s forecourt through the building to the park and beyond – inviting discovery and opening the Gallery to Albert Park and public spaces.” – aucklandartgallery.com



The new wing of the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand, as seen from a pathway in Albert Park; note how the kauri columns bring the trees and flora of Albert Park into the museum



A modern sculpture in Albert Park, immediately behind (and uphill from), the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand



Sky Tower, Auckland’s most famous structure, viewed from Albert Park and the Auckland Art Gallery (Toi o Tāmaki), Auckland, New Zealand


Wineries in Hawke’s Bay (Napier), New Zealand


At Trinity Hill, following the planting of traditional Bordeaux region varietals, Southern European grape varieties, Syrah and Viognier were also planted (here covered by netting to protect the grapes from hungry, flying birds); Hawke’s Bay, Hastings, New Zealand


On our second day docked in Napier, New Zealand, we joined a small group for a trip south to Hawke’s Bay, one of the country’s top wine growing regions, especially well known for its Bordeaux-style wines and Syrah (Shiraz).  Our explorations took us to three top wineries in the area – Trinity Hill, Te Awa and Elephant Hill, the latter of which was a grand setting for an al fresco luncheon accompanied by wines from the property.  [For background on Hawke’s Bay and Napier, see our two previous blog posts.]



In 1993 Trinity Hill, founded by John Hancock, became one of the region’s early pioneers, planting grape vines on a barren plot on the former bed of the Ngaruroro River, Hawke’s Bay, Hastings, New Zealand



The tasting room is adjacent to the barrel aging cellar at Trinity Hill, Hawke’s Bay, Hastings, New Zealand


“Homage is Trinity Hill’s Flagship wine. A wonderfully round rich Syrah inspired by the famed Cote Rotie of the Northern Rhone, it has consistently gained more “Parker points” than any other New Zealand Syrah, achieving  92  to 95 in its seven vintages.  First produced in 2002, it has been voted “Best Red Wine in New Zealand” by Cuisine Magazine and taken home the coveted Air New Zealand Awards Double – Best Red Wine and Champion Wine of Show.  Homage pays tribute to one of the Rhone Valley’s most iconic figures,  the late Gerard Jaboulet.  A long-time friend of Robert and Robyn Wilson – his wine dinners at the Bleeding Heart were legendary.  Gerard took John Hancock [founder and proprietor of Trinity Hill] under his wing in 1996 and allowed him to work beside him at the Jaboulet family wine cellars in Tain L’Hermitage throughout that harvest.  Gerard later told the Wilsons that John was the most committed winemaker he had had the pleasure of working with.  He said, with some surprise, that John would stay behind at lunchtime to hose down the cellar.  In those days in the Rhone, lunch was much more important than cellar hygiene.  As a mark of gratitude, Gerard gave Trinity Hill cuttings of Syrah from his famed La Chapelle vineyard, in Hermitage, and Viognier from Les Jumelles in Cote Rotie, and from these our Homage was born.  Like the Cote Rotie of its inspiration, our Homage Syrah is traditionally blended with a small amount of Viognier.  Homage is only produced in the very best years, following the warmest growing seasons, and in very limited quantities.” – trinityhill.com



The vineyards of Te Awa, nestled in the heart of the Gimblett Gravels wine growing region of Hawke’s Bay, Hastings, New Zealand



The grapes at Te Awa were ripening when we visited, about a month or two before the spring 2017 harvest, Hawke’s Bay, Hastings, New Zealand


Testament to the intricacies of the natural elements the Te Awa Single Estate wines are grown on a single site in the sacred Gimblett Gravels, allowing true expression of the classic Hawke’s Bay varieties Chardonnay, Syrah and Bordeaux blends.  “Te Awa o Te Atua, The river of God — a reference to the mysterious subterranean streams over which the vineyards are situated and from which the wines draw their exquisite, yet subtle characteristics.  The quality comes from the free draining soil which consistently produces high quality fruit.   Walking the vineyard at Te Awa Winery you will see the vines planted in alluvial soils, typical of the area.  The single estate is made up of 151 hectares, 100 of which are planted in vines.  Te Awa vineyard soils are the trails of the old Ngaruroro River which meandered through the region until a huge flood changed its course in 1867.” – teawacollection.com



The dining room at Te Awa, on the side of the tasting room, viewed from the vineyards, Hawke’s Bay, Hastings, New Zealand



The vineyards at Elephant Hill, with the Te Awanga coast of Hawke’s Bay in the background, viewed from the offices of the winery upstairs, above where we enjoyed a nice al fresco luncheon, Hawke’s Bay, Haumoana, New Zealand


Exploring Hawke’s Bay (Napier), New Zealand


Looking out from the Craggy Range Winery tasting room and Terrôir Restaurant to the spectacular Te Mata Peak in the premium growing area of Hawke’s Bay, Havelock North, New Zealand


Following our art deco walk in Napier, we drove south to the Hawke’s Bay wine region centered around the towns of Hastings and Havelock North – the region lies on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand.



Cattle grazing on the plateau below Te Mata Peak (the mountain gave the winery its name) as seen from the Craggy Range Winery, Hawke’s Bay, Havelock North, New Zealand



The vineyards at the Craggy Range Winery are bearing fruit (a month or so before harvest) and the nets are keeping the birds at bay, Hawke’s Bay, Havelock North, New Zealand; the winery buildings are in the background


“Hawke’s Bay is one of New Zealand’s warmest, driest regions and this has made it one of the country’s leading producers of wine; notably red wines – Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah – but also with some quite stunning whites.  The region is the first stop on the Classic New Zealand Wine Trail, and it’s a popular place for bicycle wine tours.  Hawke’s Bay is New Zealand’s Art Deco centre [see our previous blog post on Napier, New Zealand], rebuilt in the 1930’s after a huge earthquake.  It hosts the country’s most elaborate celebrations of Matariki – the Maori New Year.  It’s a place where you can shop at the farmers’ market for locally grown delicacies and indulge in artisan gourmet food…  And it’s a place where you can walk the forest trails of the Ruahine and Kaweka Forest Parks, visit the Cape Kidnappers gannet colony [and world-class golf course] or relax on the glorious beaches that stretch along the coast.” – newzealand.com



The tasting room and offices of the Craggy Range Winery, Hawke’s Bay, Havelock North, New Zealand; he winery was recognized in 2014 by renowned U.S. publication Wine Enthusiast as ‘New World Winery of the Year’ with many of the wines also receiving notable accolades and awards



We drove up the mountain to get this view of the Craggy Range Winery from the viewpoint on Te Mata Peak, Hawke’s Bay, Havelock North, New Zealand



Another winery is visible in the valley from the viewpoint on Te Mata Peak, Hawke’s Bay, Havelock North, New Zealand



The tasting room of Te Mata Winery, Hawke’s Bay, Havelock North, New Zealand; Te Mata Estate was established here in 1896, specializing in high-quality wines of classical style



The vineyards of Te Mata Winery, Hawke’s Bay, Havelock North, New Zealand; Te Mata Estate is recognized as one of New Zealand’s most prestigious wine producers, making nearly 40,000 cases a year of premium wine and exporting to over 42 countries


Napier (Art Deco Festival), New Zealand


Napier, New Zealand, is now well known for having preserved its wealth of Art Deco buildings, mostly constructed in 1931-1932, after the devastating 1931 earthquake and fire; the city hosts a huge Art Deco Festival and weekend each February (this year it was a few days after our visit)


It was the devastation of a 1931 earthquake and the subsequent rebuilding from scratch that made Napier, New Zealand, the “Art Deco Capital of the World” — to this day representing the most complete and significant group of art deco buildings found anywhere.  The population of Napier is around 60,000, with the broader Napier-Hastings-Havlock North region totaling about 130,000 people, making it the sixth largest urban area in New Zealand.  “Napier is the nexus of the largest wool centre in the Southern Hemisphere, and it has the primary export seaport for northeastern New Zealand – which is the largest producer of apples, pears, and stone fruit in New Zealand. Napier has also become an important grape and wine production area, with the grapes grown around Hastings and Napier being sent through the Port of Napier for export.  Large amounts of sheep’s wool, frozen meat, wood pulp, and timber also pass through Napier annually for export.” – Wikipedia



The “New Napier Arch” is a portal to the walkway along the breakfront constructed after the 1931 earth along the waterfront and beach, Napier, New Zealand



The T & G Building (Atkin & Mitchell, Wellington, 1936) is the tallest building in Napier; the Auckland Savings Bank (ASB) is in the foreground, Napier, New Zealand


With some friends from California who were also traveling in New Zealand, we booked a guide from the Art Deco Trust center for a two hour walking tour around town and a viewing of an informative movie made by the Trust about the 1931 earthquake, its aftermath and the incredible rebuilding of the city.  We were reminded a lot of the current preservation efforts in South Beach, Miami Beach, Florida, USA to restore and preserve many of the Art Deco gems in that region. [See our blog posts from 2015, “Art Deco Walk in the South Beach District of Miami Beach, Florida, USA” and “Art Deco collection at The Wolfsonian (Florida International University), South Beach District, Miami Beach, Florida, USA”.]



Details of the ASB bank building that features Maori koru and zigzags, Napier, New Zealand



The interior of the two-story ASB bank building with interior glass and paneling under roof skylights that was a very advanced design for bringing in natural light to an interior office/work environment, Napier, New Zealand



An interior glass panel in the Criterion Hotel (which has some Moorish influences along with the Art Deco overall design), Napier, New Zealand



Details of second story windows, Napier, New Zealand



Street level leaded glass designs above the door of a jewelry shop, Napier, New Zealand



Intricate Art Deco designs above the columns and windows, Napier, New Zealand



One of the main shopping streets in downtown Napier, New Zealand, where the height limit of two stories was observed in the rebuilding that began in 1931-1932


The Napier website has a good description how the beautifully preserved Art Deco architecture became the city’s special point of difference.  “A national disaster resulted in Napier becoming one of the purest Art Deco cities in the world.  On the morning of February 3rd 1931 a massive earthquake – 7.9 on the Richter scale – rocked Hawke’s Bay for more than three minutes.  Nearly 260 lives were lost and the vast majority of buildings in the commercial centre of Napier were destroyed, either by the quake itself or the fires that followed.  Rebuilding began almost immediately, and much of it was completed in two years.  New buildings reflected the architectural styles of the times – Stripped Classical, Spanish Mission and Art Deco.  Local architect Louis Hay, an admirer of the great Frank Lloyd Wright, had his chance to shine.  Maori motifs were employed to give the city a unique New Zealand character – for example, the ASB bank on the corner of Hastings and Emerson Streets features Maori koru and zigzags.   Napier’s city centre has the feeling of a time capsule – the seamless line of 1930s architecture is quite extraordinary.” – http://www.newzealand.com



Beautiful stained glass above the door and windows of a shop in Napier, New Zealand



The classically Art Deco auditorium center light in the Napier municipal theater building, Napier, New Zealand



A classical, well-preserved Art Deco office interior, Napier, New Zealand; somewhat reminiscent of some Frank Lloyd Wright designs in the United States of America



The Daily Telegraph building features many different Art Deco design motifs, including a ziggurat aesthetic and trompe-l’oeil details, Napier, New Zealand



Towards the end of our guided walking tour we visited the Napier Cathedral with its beautiful stained glass windows, Napier, New Zealand; this panel has a poignant invocation for our times: “LOVE ONE ANOTHER”


Wellington, New Zealand


The view of downtown Wellington and the Wellington harbor, New Zealand, from the Wellington Botanic Gardens


New Zealand’s capital and second most populous city (400,000 residents), Wellington (Mãori: Te Whanga-nui-a-Tara), is situated on the southwestern tip of the North Island, draped around a scenic harbor and surrounded by bush-covered hills.  Spectacular vistas of both the city and harbor can be had from the top of Mount Victoria or the Botanic Gardens.  “Wellington’s economy is primarily service-based, with an emphasis on finance, business services, and government.  It is the centre of New Zealand’s film and special effects industries, and increasingly a hub for information technology and innovation.  Wellington ranks as one of New Zealand’s chief seaports and serves both domestic and international shipping.” — Wikipedia



The working port on the harbor is visible from the restored 19th century industrial building that has been converted in lofts for apartments, Wellington, New Zealand



A modern Wellington Cable Car at the top of the line in the Kelburn neighborhood, Wellington, New Zealand; the line opened on 22 February 1902 and the original steam engines for pulling the steel cables were replaced by electric motors in 1933, with a Swiss designed system replacing the original designs in 1978


“Energetic and creative, Wellington has been called the world’s ‘coolest little capital’.  And Wellingtonians enjoy an outdoor lifestyle, thanks to its harbourside setting and 425 hectares of bush-clad town belt.  With reportedly more cafés, bars and restaurants per capita than New York, Wellington is known for its lively nightlife and world-class culinary scene.  Already proud of its internationally – recognised coffee culture, Wellington has become the hub of New Zealand’s craft beer revolution, with experimental breweries and specialist bars popping up all over the city.  Home to national museums, galleries and theatres, the city is at the heart of New Zealand’s arts and culture, and Wellington’s innovative film production and digital technology sectors have built a worldwide reputation.  The city combines the sophistication, cosmopolitan outlook and global reach of a capital city, along with the warmth and personality of a village.” – wellingtonnz.com



A view of the harbor and downtown from the Kelburn Lookout at the top of the Wellington Cable Car line, Wellington, New Zealand



Blooming lilies in the Wellington Botanic Gardens, Wellington, New Zealand



A beautiful local species in full bloom in the Wellington Botanic Gardens, Wellington, New Zealand, Wellington, New Zealand


The beautiful Wellington Botanic Gardens are set in 62 acres / 25 hectartes of well maintained unique landscapes, including protected native forest, conifers, specialized collections of plants, floral displays, and great views of the city.  The attraction was classified as a Garden of National Significance by the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture and also represents an area under the Historic Places Trust Heritage.



The Lady Norwood Rose Garden and conservatory in the Wellington Botanic Gardens, Wellington, New Zealand, Wellington, New Zealand



A gazebo and pond in the center of the Wellington Botanic Gardens, Wellington, New Zealand



Beautiful blooming flowers form colorful designs at the lower entrance to the Wellington Botanic Gardens, Wellington, New Zealand


Wellington is home to four buildings that house New Zealand’s Parliament. The Edwardian Neoclassical Parliament House, the Beehive (whose nickname is apparent upon viewing), the historic Parliamentary Library, and the Bowen House are the center of the country’s democracy.  The Parliament’s beautifully manicured grounds are a favorite meeting space for locals and visitors, and the gathering place for celebrations.



The historic Parliamentary Library is one of four buildings that house New Zealand’s Parliament, Wellington, New Zealand



The New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts in downtown Wellington, New Zealand


MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia


The playful museum entrance – behind which is an interior spiral staircase that leads down to three larger underground levels of display spaces with no windows, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia


On our last evening on this trip to Tasmania and Australia, we joined a small group for a privately guided visit to MONA (Museum of Old and New Art) followed by a delicious dinner in the museum’s restaurant and terraces. We arrived at the museum on the peninsula after a 45-minute “ferry ride” on a private catamaran up the Derwent River from Hobart to the museum’s jetty. “The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) is an art museum located within the Moorilla winery on the Berriedale peninsula in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. It is the largest privately funded museum in Australia. The museum presents antiquities and modern and contemporary art from the David Walsh collection. Walsh has described the museum as a ‘subversive adult Disneyland.’ MONA was officially opened on 21 January 2011. Along with its frequently updated indoor collection, MONA also hosts the annual MOFO and Dark Mofo festivals which showcase large-scale public art and live performances.” – Wikipedia. This is a museum unlike any other in the world – easily described as an eccentric super-wealthy gambler’s tribute to himself and his explorations of “who he is” and “what is art”. Many visitors are shocked with the erotic and sexual nature of much of the art [which we have chosen not to include in our photographs on this blog post], and surprised to find such an eclectic mix of historical and classical art (from around the world) with many “challenging” modern art pieces.



The setting for the museum on the Berriedale peninsula along the Derwent River, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia


“Mona is one man’s ‘megaphone’ as he put it at the outset: and what he wants to say almost invariably revolves around the place of art and creativity within the definition of humanity. We know that sounds lofty, self-important. But we must be honest with you: our goal is no more, nor less, than to ask what art is, and what makes us look and look at it with ceaseless curiosity. We don’t have the answer yet. Maybe when we do, that will be the end of Mona. Bye bye Mona…

“Mona’s ambition (with only modest success, given that most people just want to take pictures of bit.fall) is to understand how narrow, how partial, our view is of the world. To see clearly, we argue, you have to first know the limits of your vision. To quote Socrates: ‘The smartest people know how dumb they are.’ Okay, what he really said was: ‘I know one thing: that I know nothing.’” – mona.net.au



A wall on the lowest (third) level of MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, that shows how the museum was carved out of the rock on the peninsula under the Moorilla winery


“[It] begins as soon as you get there. If you arrive by jetty you come up those stairs thinking you’ll get somewhere momentous, but then you get to the top and turn around and there’s just this small house. Then you go in, and go down a heap more stairs. A big space. ‘Wow, I didn’t know it was going to be so big.’ Still no art.” — James Pearce, Director of Architecture, MONA



This exhibition room could be in a traditional art museum anywhere in the world; it is in stark contrast with some other rooms that are quite provocative; MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia



Highly decorated silver sculptures atop two of twelve “sardine cans” that all contain sculpted silver female genitalia, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia



A kinetic sculpture that the visitor enters and then moves his/her arms and dances to “conduct” music and a light show on the perimeter of the exhibit (a docent is demonstrating movement within the sculpture), MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia



Glass panels and a mirror (second from the left “panel”) that are a fraction of the floral art in an exhibition room that measured perhaps 25 feet by 20 feet (7.6 by 6.1 meters), MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia



An ancient clay sculpture, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia



Figure of a Girl Bathing, Pierre Auguste Renoir (late 1800s), MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia



Mount Fuji (one of 36 woodblock print views), Ando Hiroshige, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia



Fat Car, 2006 Erwin Wurm, MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia



A view from above of the bar on the lower level at MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, where we had cocktails and/or wine after our tour of the museum, before going up and out to the museum’s restaurant (in a separate, above ground building with terraces overlooking the river) for dinner


Interested readers should check out the museum’s website:


to explore some of the architecture, the collection and the biography of founder and chief curator David Walsh.



The rising full moon provided a fitting end to a wonderful afternoon and evening at MONA (Museum of Old and New Art), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, on our last night in Tasmania and Australia after seven weeks of explorations


Hobart, Tasmania, Australia


Hobart, Tasmania’s capital city [Australia] is unusual in that the central business district wraps around the harbor that has been recently gentrified and filled with shops, bars, restaurants and apartments

The island state of Tasmania is Australia’s southernmost territory, closer to Antarctica than to Perth.  Its eye-pleasing capital of Hobart wraps around a yacht-filled harbor. Mount Wellington looms in the background, snow-capped in winter and popular with hikers in summer.  Sailors are no doubt familiar with the city’s role as the endpoint for the annual Sydney-Hobart Yacht Race held each year on Boxing Day (26 December).  As is the case with other settlements in Australia, Hobart traces its European roots back to its days as a penal colony.  Hobart is the largest city on the island with a population of 225,000.



The Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia



Reflections in the city center harbor, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia



The Salamanca Market area has been beautifully restored with dozens of shops, galleries, bars and restaurants, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia


Located a short walk from the Hobart waterfront is Salamanca Place, once Hobart’s center of commerce from the 1830s.  Today, the area is known for its 19th century sandstone warehouses, the dynamic offerings at the Salamanca Arts Centre, exceptional restaurants, bars, galleries and famous outdoor Salamanca Market.



Interesting to see that the government of Australia – not a non-governmental organization — is the sponsor of the campaign to stop racism, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia; this poster was in the Salamanca Market area



An interesting vertical expansion for a restaurant overlooking the harbor in the central business district, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia



The restaurant we had lunch at had a great view from the tables of the central business district harbor, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia



A view of the Old Wharf area and our ship docked at Macquarie Wharf, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia



The Hobart Synagogue (unusually designed in an Egyptian architectural style), consecrated in 1845, the oldest synagogue in Australia, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia



It is somewhat ironic that the former ironmongers building downtown is now a gym (for lifting iron), Hobart, Tasmania, Australia



A covered walkway in the Elizabeth Street Mall, downtown Hobart, Tasmania, Australia



We weren’t sure about the name of the building – possibly a development 100+ years ago honoring Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington, the hero of Waterloo, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia



A fountain in Franklin Square, downtown, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia



Hobart Council Centre, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia


Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania, Australia


We approached The Port Arthur Historic Site by ship’s tender, entering Mason Bay with a view of the historic penal colony, Tasmania, Australia


The UNESCO World Heritage-listed Port Arthur Historic Site on the Tasman Peninsula is Australia’s most intact and evocative convict site.  The Historic Site has over 30 buildings, ruins and restored period homes set in 40 hectares (100 acres) of landscaped grounds.  Port Arthur was much more than a prison – it was a complete community, home to military personnel and free settlers.  The convicts worked at farming and industries, producing a large range of resources and materials.  Port Arthur is officially Tasmania’s top tourist attraction.  It is located approximately 60 kilometers (37 miles) southeast of the state capital, Hobart.



The main penitentiary (1857) in the foreground with the hospital (1842) in the background, Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania, Australia


“Port Arthur was named after George Arthur, the Lieutenant Governor of Van Dieman’s Land.  The settlement started as a timber station in 1830, but it is best known for being a penal colony.  From 1833, until 1853, it was the destination for the hardest of convicted British criminals, those who were secondary offenders having re-offended after their arrival in Australia.  Rebellious personalities from other convict stations were also sent here, a quite undesirable punishment.  In addition Port Arthur had some of the strictest security measures of the British penal system.



A view of the penitentiary and the penal colony through columns marking the edge of the community settlement of the military and free settlers, Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania, Australia



The Guard Tower (1835) in the foreground with the Senior Military Officer’s Quarters (1833) in the background, Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania, Australia


“Port Arthur was one example of the ‘Separate Prison Typology’ (sometimes known as the Model prison), which emerged from Jeremy Bentham’s theories and his panopticon.  The prison was completed in 1853 but then extended in 1855.  The layout of the prison was fairly symmetrical.  It was a cross shape with exercise yards at each corner.  The prisoner wings were each connected to the surveillance core of the Prison as well as the Chapel, in the Centre Hall.  From this surveillance hub each wing could be clearly seen, although individual cells could not. This is how the Separate Prison at Port Arthur differed from the original theory of the Panopticon.



Two prisoner cells in the main penitentiary building (1857), Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania, Australia; note that each cell is barely big enough for a cot and there was no heating in the building



The Asylum (1868) is now the site’s museum building, Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania, Australia


“The Separate Prison System also signaled a shift from physical punishment to psychological punishment.  It was thought that the hard corporal punishment, such as whippings, used in other penal stations only served to harden criminals, and did nothing to turn them from their immoral ways.  For example, food was used to reward well-behaved prisoners and as punishment for troublemakers.  As a reward, a prisoner could receive larger amounts of food or even luxury items such as tea, sugar and tobacco.  As punishment, the prisoners would receive the bare minimum of bread and water.  Under this system of punishment the ‘Silent System’ was implemented in the building.  Here prisoners were hooded and made to stay silent, this was supposed to allow time for the prisoner to reflect upon the actions which had brought him there.  Many of the prisoners in the Separate Prison developed mental illness from the lack of light and sound.  This was an unintended outcome although the asylum was built right next to the Separate Prison.  In many ways Port Arthur was the model for many of the penal reform movement, despite shipping, housing and slave-labour use of convicts being as harsh, or worse, than others stations around the nation.” — Wikipedia



Government Gardens (1846) for the free settlers and military, Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania, Australia



A view of the main penitentiary (1857) through trees of the Government Gardens (1846), Port Arthur Historic Site, Tasmania, Australia