Waiheke Island...a short 40 minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland...we chose the "Explorer" package which included round trip Fullers ferry, 1 1/2 hour coach tour of the island, and an all day bus pass for us to explore on our own. The coach driver's name was Horst, "not a very common name in New Zealand" he said, explaining that he had emigrated from Germany 26 years ago and had lived on this island for 15. He was both informative ("For our visitors from the northern hemisphere, did you know that the sun is highest in the northern sky in our summers?") and humorous (joking about the pace of island life and speed limits...both slow). There are about 8500 permanent residents (many commute to work in Auckland) and in the height of summer this might swell to more than 30,000 plus another 10,000 day trippers like us. Water is precious--every home collects rainwater and very few have wells. The median price of real estate is $750,000 but properties on the more popular sunny north side can be a few million. Many of these are converted summer cabins, or "baches" (short for bachelor pad).
The population is diverse...old hippies, wealthy retirees, and so on...very similar to the gulf islands off the coast of BC. Waiheke is well known for its red wines, and we sampled a few plus some whites, and enjoyed a delicious pizza at "Wild on Waiheke" which also brews a very acceptable beer plus a cider from Granny Smith apples (not grown on the island--too warm--these come from the South Island of NZ).
Had a fabulous visit to Upcycle Re/Design (https://www.facebook.com/UpcycleWaiheke) in the village of Oneroa. This is a co-operative and I was most taken with dresses made primarily from old shirts...but my favourite didn't fit... Everything in the store is made from stuff sourced from the recycling depot which also includes clothing. The ethos of repurposing is strong of course because of the cost of shipping. Garbage has to be shipped off the island too.
My double-knitted shawl progresses VERY slowly.
This is proving to be a project that needs good light (so not great on a plane--I only knit two rows on the way here) and concentration (no conversation or discussion about what to do next!) I still haven't been able to knit without looking at the graph, although alternate rows are easier because I just have to knit what I see on the needles. Because my pattern is downloaded to the Knit Companion app...
...I have had to increase the length of time the screen stays on...plus I am tying up the iPad and Lloyd can't surf...oh well, he is rapidly becoming very proficient with his new smart phone! However, I am very happy with it so far and think my choice of yarns is great! I just need to dig out something simpler to knit once in a while...I packed some cottons for dishcloths!
Speaking of smart phones, this is the first time we have travelled with a phone, and it paid off big time yesterday! Lloyd was able to track down the camera he left on the coach!