Future Website Plans

Over the next month or two, I’m planning (where I have time) to go back through past posts and photo albums and tidying a few things up. Namely…

  • Finish captioning as many un-captioned photos as I can.
  • Writing up more detailed Trip reports to go with the Photo Albums (where I can, particularly with those to do with Hiking).

While originally the intent of this homepage was purely set up as a means of keeping in contact with friends and loved ones (in preference to relying on Facebook), the reason for the Tidy up planning came about while I was trying to search for some new possible hiking trips to do and then ending up back at my own homepage.

It appears some of the pages have been ranking a little higher in search results than they have in the past and this corresponds with a noticeable uptick in general visitation arriving from various search engines, combined with an increase in the general email inquiries about various trips and what not.

I’m thinking some people will no doubt be landing on my website (expecting to find more information about a given hike or place), seeing a photo and going… “Where the Flip is this? Where is this landmark / building? Where’s the Information?!” Potentially frustrating casual visitors in the process.

All that said, the intent of this website was to be a personal homepage (to keep in contact with loved ones and friends) and I never really envisioned it being anything more than that. I don’t at present have any plans as such of turning this into any sort of  travel blog with any intention to monetize or paste it over with adverts, at least not yet anyway. (Website is currently funded solely through my own personal funds)


Flight Centre Travel Expo

Attended the Flight Centre Travel Expo briefly in the morning just to have a quick look. While it perhaps didn’t really inspire me to go traveling more than I currently do, it did put in perspective just how much people were willing to pay for convenience by buying a pre-arranged tour, even with the 15% Flight Centre Expo discount applied. Seems 180-450 per day per person is the norm and that is excluding flights.

Inside a Tour coach (Flight Centre Travel Expo)

While people will no doubt have differing views, based on one’s circumstances (You’re time poor, you have a family to look after, etc). I feel that planning a holiday yourself and researching in detail where to go, what to do, etc,is a large part of the Holiday experience.

I think it was the same deal with my Victoria, Australia trip to both the Grampians [Photos] and 12 Apostles [Photos]. Looked at tours available then in the end, decided to book a rental car myself and book accommodation myself for a much cheaper overall rate.

For those in a position to do so, self arranged holidays provided some advantages…

  • Not being rushed and hearded around. Take it at your leisure. Increased chances for better photo opportunities.
  • More flexibility to see what you want, do want you want.
  • Even for a solo traveler, booking your own transport and accommodation worked out cheaper than taking a pre-packaged tour.


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Flight Centre Travel Expo

Cornwall Park

Quick little shots Miscellaneous shots from Cornwall park after having attended the Flight Centre Travel Expo.  Was hoping to see some blossoms, but it didn’t quite eventuate as planned. It was also the middle of the day where most people would be visiting the park so didn’t quite get any descent photo opportunities that weren’t essentially just crowds of people…

Continue reading “Cornwall Park”

Cornwall Park

Kohukohunui Trip Notes

Sunday 24th September 2017 – A walk up to Kohukohunui,  Photos posted to NUI.NZ.

We first attempted to access Kohukohunui via Moumoukai Hill Road [Topo link], but we discovered upon reaching the road end car park, the place is now pasted in signs with “No Public Access permitted”.

We then drove on around the seabird coast to Waharau [Topo link] and started our ascent from there taking the most direct route towards “Kohukohunui” via Waharau Ridge Track connecting on to Mangatangi Ridge Track. We stopping at Thousand Acre Campsite shelter for Lunch (and stopped there again on the way back). Due to time and daylight constraints we returned back the same way.

Click picture below to Access the Photo Gallery.

Track Junction towards Kohukohunui Trig at the Eastern end of Mangatangi Ridge Track

Other notes, considerations and points of possible interest…

  • Difficulty Grade: Medium (Approximately 6 on a difficulty scale out of 10). Some moderately steep sections + some mud.
  • The side track to Kohukohunui Trig states 10 minutes (pictured above). In reality, this is closer to 20 minutes
  • Track condtion of Waharau Trig track is generally good with a handful of slightly muddy patches.
  • Conditions were very muddy for the last 1.5 km to Kohukohunui Trig.
  • Waharau Car park closes at 7:00 p.m. during the Winter season (During non day light saving times) and 9:00 p.m during the Summer season (During day light saving times)
  • Thousand Acre campsite has a fairly newly built shelter with one long drop toilet.

It was also today I learned that Raro cordial mix gives me bugger all energy and has little effect at helping me get up hills. Apparently a row from Whitakers Chocolate bar gives you eight to ten times more Calories to burn.

Kohukohunui Trip Notes

Mangatangi Trig Hike Plan

Rough Basic outline: Starting from Moumoukai Car park. Walk up Lilburne Road (past Upper Mangatawhiri Dam), Turn right onto Pukapuka Track. Walk up to Mangatangi Trig, Then walk down Mangatangi Trig Track and return back to car via network of gravel road.

If necessary, can cut this short by going down A.R.A Road.

Alternative shorter southern loop plan: Go up A.R.A Road, down Mangatangi Trig Track and back to car park via the network of roads.

Estimated Time: 8-10 Hours (Depending on pace, including allowances for stops)


Mangatangi Trig Hike Plan

Too early to call

Noticed anecdotally that a few commentators have been suggesting the Housing market is “Finally turning”. I feel (fear) this may be premature. The fundamental Demand side factors appear to be still present and instead of a flattening of prices in the longer term, I see a period of consolidation before house prices across the country will possibly ramp up again continue their unrelenting  march to higher levels of (in my personal view) pricing insanity…

On broader economic matters…  I have a confession to make, I declare I no longer feel I have any understanding of present day economics, I struggle to make much sense of why the crowds and markets will act in the way they do.  At the moment, the only things I feel I have to go on is both “A trend is more likely to continue than reverse” and “The Trend is your friend” as being the two (related) statements which seem to have any relevancy.

Ended up in March stopping out of my “Short” position against the NYSE:SPY / S&P 500 Index (which I only held for a few short months) and immediately went “Long” on the underlying after determining that the the consolidation was merely a continuation. Perhaps thanks to time decay, the actual loss on the short position was minimized to breaking even. (I don’t plan to use derivatives much apart from the occasional hedge)

Too early to call

Facebook Causes depression?

They say Facebook causes depression. For me, it’s probably not the “Comparing yourself with others” / F.O.M.O (Fear of Missing out) trigger that I keep seeing exhorted in the media (in the lightest way possible, that aspect of Facebook has probably had the opposite effect),

What has instead perhaps “dampened my mood” is seeing the world’s masses getting deeply hooked and dare I say addicted to the platform owned by a corporate juggernaut (which we are collectively responsible for becoming a juggernaut, by virtue of joining the platform and getting our friends to join courtesy of the “network effect”) intent on eating up the entire Internet and irreversibly integrating itself into many people’s lives.

I really struggle to see this as a good thing for us collectively in the longer run. I question our decision to rely on a sole proprietary platform for keeping in touch with friends and family. I continually freak out about how much power over our lives we are collectively handing over to be concentrated into the hands of a single for-profit entity such as Facebook, especially so given their past and present behavior. Have people forgotten about “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”?

I’ve referred to Facebook as “Face-borg” for this reason. It is really the Web’s version of Startrek’s Borg collective, relentlessly assimilating everything in it’s path.

Facebook Causes depression?

Caltex pricing between their fuel grades

For about a year, noticed that the pricing many Caltex service stations set between their 91 octane and 95 octane products has somehow diverged percentage wise from about 5% to about 15%. I did inquire with Caltex New Zealand as to the reason why the gap has widened to the extent that is has, though it appears they’ve palmed off the responsibility to individual service stations, while the said stations have pushed it back on to Head Office.

Caltex Manuwera (Near Takanini Motorway interchange)

Anyway, in the interim, I shall exercise my responsibility as a consumer (as I did to Two Degrees Mobile) and go to their sister brand, Z Energy or to Mobil where both brands often have their 95 RON petrol priced about 15-21c cheaper than Caltex.

It also does bring in to question how often Caltex turns over their 95 product as well as I have noticed my engine recently appears to behave rather differently between different tank fulls of the same Caltex product. For example, one tank full of Caltex 95 RON gasoline may feel quite perky, while with another tank full from the next Caltex station, my engine may instead feel surprisingly sluggish with me needing to noticeably mash the accelerator a bit harder to get up hills.

So far with Z Energy, all my tank fulls have felt a bit more consistent and dare I say it, smoother running with a small increase in fuel economy (according to my written logs) overall. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn it’s because Z Energy turn their 95 RON fuel over more frequently.


Caltex pricing between their fuel grades