There’s a fine line

between being a famous architect and being an eccentric crank. But apparently Friedensreich Hundertwasser stayed on the right side. His gift to Kawakawa, where he spent a lot of his adult life, was this fancy public restroom.

If a bunch of other architects looked at the plans before it was built, would that be a pee review?

I’m relieved to have this moving attraction wiped off my bucket list. The tiles sometimes reminded me of a fast-flowing stream. Some people might poo-poo the significance of this installation, but i wash my hands of such critics. If you plumb its full depth you’ll find Hundertwasser to be #1 or #2 in his field.

Hmmm, I suppose that last might be a little close to the line that separates respectful tourism from snark. You be the judge…

Flagstaff Hill

On our way out of Russell, we stopped off at Flagstaff Hill.

In 1840, the first Union Jack in New Zealand was flown from this very spot. But a Maori chief cut it down in protest. The Brits put up another, the Maori guy chopped it down. Three times, and then they started really fighting. The town was sacked.

Supposedly some of the original timber is still inside the heavy iron standard that now only flies the flag on ceremonial days.

We also got to see a whole family of weka, who were pretty cool. Although in point of fact the feral chickens we have complained about on Caribbean islands are more colorful and make more interesting noises. Go figure.

Far from the madding crowds

After our day on the water, we had a really nice dinner on the waterfront. It did fill up eventually, but you don’t come to Russell for wild street parties any more. Apparently back in the day, like the 1850s, things were quite different… Nantucket whalers, British colonists, and even some of the locals got together to make this “the hellhole of the Pacific.”

To crew or to cruise

Two ways to spend a day on the Bay of Islands… we chose the one with air conditioning and a nice snack bar.

It was a lot of fun… a little history, a lot of views, an obliging pod of dolphins, a fun adventure being dragged through the water on a boom net…

It’s a lot harder than it looks to get one of those cutesy shots… especially when the shutterbug you’ve recruited doesn’t quite get the concept. So just imagine this next one from a slightly different angle…

All in all a great day!

Won’t you let me take you on a sea cruise?

Frank and Monique arrived from Texas on Saturday and by Sunday we trundled them North for a few days of quiet Kiwi life on the Bay of Islands.

After a long drive made longer by a landslip (we slip here rather than sliding), we made it to the Opua vehicle ferry, next stop Russell, our home for the next few days.

The ferry itself was pretty cool… the ends winch up and down and you just drive on. Easy peasy.