My blogs are falling on deaf ears


Why are my blogs failing

I only started blogging this year and slowly but surely I felt I was getting better. And this was reflected in number of likes I was getting and followers that were adding me. Then suddenly about the end of October the likes ceased. Zilch. Since then not one like from a follower or a new reader. Why???

I have asked WordPress customer service. They initially tried direct my how to get more likes but still nothing? Damn!

Here we are November 22. I am in the midst of a New Zealand tour with 8 from England. Normally when I am on tours and write blogs likes increase ever more. Still zilch! Why?

WordPress I contacted yet again. They had minor thoughts really related to my website but I want to know why the likes suddenly stopped.

Similar blogs I paste on facebook and likes are rocketing up

Anybody with an answer, I would love to hear the answer. Personally I thought I must have changed a setting so my followers no longer get notifications when I paste a blog, but WordPress say the settings are fine

A mystery needing an answer


Another day on tour – Nelson and Golden Bay

Nelson and Golden Bay area today

It was meant to be an easy day but typical me on tours, I offer to show more sights not on the agenda. One day I will learn to keep my mouth shut and just do as per the agenda. Or will I? Probably not. I like to go  the extra length if I can. Give that extra ‘buzz’ factor.

Today was mostly the Golden Bay area. 5 of the group elected when I offered to do a 2 hour walk in Abel Tasman National Park. The remaining 3 decided they would prefer a lazy day on the beach I had passed 10km earlier. So a split group but all happy that I was prepared to do that.

My walkers after I guess nearer 2 and a half hours were looking burnt and a little tired when I turned up to collect them. But all had smiles beaming across their face with a number of stories being related back to me.

I took them back to the beach which all agreed they to should take a plunge in the crystal clear water.

For me I played with the drone. Captured better photography but not perfect yet. But because all my people were happy to do what they were doing I could do my own thing. I will charge all the drone batteries again tonight and hopefully as our tour progresses I will get another opportunity to fly it.

From the beaches we headed to Pu Pu Springs. One of only 2 places in the world you get this purIty of water bubbling out of the ground. It was not on our agenda and probably added 2 hours to our day but all 8 agreed it was well worth it.

Tomorrow its over to the west coast starting with a 3.4km walk for them at Cape Foulwind. A beautiful coastal walk which includes a large seal colony. I drop them at the Northern end then drive to pick them up at the Southern end. This is a walk I quiet enjoy to but just not possible for me tomorrow.

Anyway, a full day tomorrow. I need book some on the glacier helicopters for the following day. It never stops for a tour guide

Wellington to Nelson


Wellington to Nelson

An easy day in theory. Only a couple of hours driving for me but it started with a 5am alarm call. Get showed and dressed. Go get our tour vehicle out of the tour bus parking further along Wakefield Street in Wellington. Then await my tour group to present me with their suitcases prior 6.30am. Then a quick hotel breakfast and off for the ferry terminal to catch the Inter Island ferry to Picton.

A lengthy wait with other vehicles at the ferry terminal while they loaded the trucks first. Finally 8.30am we were on the boat for the 4 hour cruise. So there may not be long driving hours but certainly long work hours as Nelson was not reached to 5pm.

The ferry trip was uneventful with a number of ‘long black’ coffees consumed. Long talks with other tour drivers with their vehicles and groups aboard. I learnt nothing new but its always good to compare notes.

Disembark in Picton a little after 12.30 and we head around the Queen Charlotte Drive headed for lunch at the little village of Havelock. We stopped various times for photography. No one got sick around all the bends. Always a bonus. Haha

I believe Havelock must have all new welcome signs since the last tour I was there or maybe I just hadn’t in the past been that observant. In fact I remember now, one of my group noticed the welcom signs saying the home of the Green Lip Mussels. Now my mussel spat pickers maybe interested in that as correct me if I am wrong, but the Mussel Spat originates on my home Beach, Ninety Mile Beach in the very far north of New Zealand then we ‘export’ it down south to Marlborough.

Maybe we should erect signs up the far north saying ‘the birth place of Marlboroughs Green Lipped Mussel’.

After Havelock it was just a further 1 hour 10 minutes to Nelson and our hotel for the next 2 nights. The hotel appears new. Booked their restaurant tonight as we are 15 minutes from town.

Tomorrow Golden Bay to see the Golden sands then visit Pupu Springs

We have reached Wellington on our 18 day tour


No blog yesterday, too tired

The drive from Napier to Wellington plus stops taxed me a little yesterday. Then the suggestion from the group we have a jar on the waterfront just meant no blog. I needed clarification a jar meant a beer. Need get used to the terminology my group from England use. We may all speak the same language but we use different words for different reasons.

Today was my day off supposedly but I was asked to join the group to visit the Te Papa Museum, New Zealand’s national museum , then catch the cable car to the top of the hill, the name which evades me, then walk back down through the botanical gardens.

I have done both a number of times but each time I seem to see different things because of comments made. My camera works overtime.

The highlights today. We start with the Gallipoli exhibition at Te Papa Museum. I could not visit last time as the group I had did not want to know about wars for reasons I understand.

The Gallipoli Exhibition was largely constructed by the Weta Workshop in Wellington which was responsible for The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit Movies. It was excellent.

The cable car ride I have done many times although hadn’t been in the cable car museum before. That was fascinating.

The highlight of today was the Tui bird a native bird of New Zealand landing very close. Havent looked at my photographs yet but will for this blog. I have never had chance to photograph the Tui so up and close before. Hoping I may have some spectacular photographs, at least from my perspective.

Tomorrow a 5.30am alarm call so I can shower and get packed then get our tour vehicle back to the hotel ready to pack my groups luggage 6.30am. Then a quick breakfast and we are off to the inter-island ferry bound for the start of the South Island leg of our journey.

Personally I love the South Island leg of a tour. But already I have 8 pretty happy English tourists. So if happy already, then they are going to be blown away

Rotorua to Napier. Another day over


Rotorua to Napier today

The weather gods behaved and kept the rain at bay but the cold southerlies especially in the Taupo region were not pleasant.

You would think my group of 8 all coming from either England or Scotland would be used to the colder temperatures but I guess they came to New Zealand with clothing expecting us to be in summer temperatures. Hopefully as the tour progresses temperatures will pick up and the winds will ease.

First stop today was Huka Falls on the northern side of Taupo. Always spectacular and a well photographed area of New Zealand.

From there on to Taupo proper where we sighted a farmers market as drove in making for the next stop. In my view although labelled a farmers market there was little to infer in the way of stalls that it was farm produce. All were a little disappointed but then it was an addition to the schedule so all was okay. Taupo itself I gave them an hour to wander, get a coffee or whatever plus grab some lunch to eat when we stopped at a rest area as we headed towards Napier.

I am saturated with black coffee (long blacks) today with each stop someone insisting they buy me one. The rest area at Tarawera on the Taupo Napier Road had a café which one of my guests insisted he get me a long black. I think that was number 4 with 2 more at vineyards we were to visit on arrival in Napier.

First vineyard was Church Road and even though I seldom drink wine now a days I remember Church Road as being a good wine. My group after however samples they were given agreed it was an okay wine company as well. But we were all very disappointed as to the rapid rate it was served and lack of explanations. This was a prebooked wine tasting and Church Road I am sorry, we may have arrived early but service did not leave a good impression on my group.

Next winery was Mission Estate and from my drinking days it rated well. Here we were treated like royalty the minute we walked in. A dedicated person full of knowledge presented the wine selection and explained the background to each bottle and flavours to be expected. He was very professional and stayed solely with my group the whole time. Congratulations Mission Estate, my people saiud 10 out of 10 for service and the way they were treated after the Church Road experience. And they felt the explanation of each wine matched what they were tasting. And the wine wasn’t at all bad to apparently.

The downside of being a tour guide/driver, all you can do is watch. But having in the past consumed plenty of wine, its also quite good to watch others enjoy. Watch facial expressions gradually change and the laughter increase.

Last stop prior the hotel in Napier was up at the lookout on bluff hill. Not the best place to take a 12 seat tour vehicle but we were lucky not to strike on coming traffic.

Tonight for the first night on tour I believe I will be eating on my own. I have a distinct feeling some of the group will be having an early night. Tomorrow Wellington for a 2 night stay before we cross the Cook Strait to start the South Island leg

Day 4 and the thermal region of Rotorua, New Zealand

Waiotapu thermal activities this morning. We started with a stop at some mud pools. My group were impressed. Next came the geyser which they coax to life each day. It was a fizzer. Built up great then quickly died. Personally I think the Te Puia geyser is superior and needs no coaxing. But we are going there tonight anyway for a concert and hangi.
Day 4 and it appears as though my group from England are over the jet lag and starting to smile and look awake. Also for me I have got into the tour routine. Always takes a few days when you have not done it for a while.
So tonight the Maori concert and hangi and tomorrow we head for Napier. First stop will be Taupo and the Huka Falls then time for a lakeside walk and a coffee or should I say an English tea for some.
Napier we have 2 vineyards to visit for a wine tasting. For me its a stand or sit and watch, but thats okay. After that a little art deco tour then the night is mine, probably shared with some if not all of my group.

Beaches and Hobbiton


Day 3 of 18 – Coromandel to Rotorua

A little bit of tiredness on my behalf as I try get the body into the tour routine. Charged the camera battery on one camera last night then left it in the charger and packed in my suitcase. Go to use the camera and it wouldn’t work. Silly idiot I am.

The second camera I had left in the van last night with out charging thinking it will be okay for another day. How wrong I was. So reach Waihi and let the guests go see the Martha Gold Mine why I retrieve the Canon camera battery.

Missed photographs at 2 beaches but have done on other tours plus I did get some on the cell phone. Somewhere I have a third camera packed away, I assume in the bag with the drone which is yet to launched due to strong winds. Maybe we are now inland we will escape the winds although looking out at the lake from my hotel room here in Rotorua, the wind still blows.

Minimal rain today and the little we had stopped when we needed get out for photography.

A good tour group I have this time. To date they follow times I set rigidly. And I am not strict on times except when activities are booked such as Hobbiton Movie set today.

3 beach stops to start the day. No time to let them take a dip but all seem very happy. Lunch in Matamata. I skipped lunch today as I ate far more than I normally do for breakfast.

The Hobbiton Movie Set was the only booked activity today. I did follow them today on the guided tour. Often at Hobbiton I just wait in the vehicle. My enthusiasm for Hobbiton has seemingly disappeared. Probably due to the sheer amount of times I have viewed it.

I did get some good shots of the group with me both individually and as a group. Those I will compile the final night of the tour and donate to each of them on a USB stick. My little present. A momento of their tour with me.

Tomorrow we get a second night in Rotorua. I always enjoy 2 night stopovers. No packing and loading of suitcases.

We will visit Waiotapu thermal activity in the morning. Undecided if I will accompany them on the walk around. Decide that in the morning. Then in the evening we have the Te Puia Maori show plus hangi. That will be an experience for them


Day 2 with my group from England


Day 2 of 18 North and South Island New Zealand Tour

Its good today we don’t need change motel/hotel. Jetlag is obvious on the face of some of my group and this afternoon they have admitted it has caught them up. I had told them take it easy today.

The agenda they were given in England had me just taking them to Hahei Beach for a walk or swim. I added Hot Water Beach and borrowed shovels off the motel so they could dig in the sand to reach the hot mineral water. I believe that became the high light for today. From there we headed to Cathedral Cove. I had warned them it was a 20 minute walk each way of a moderate nature. Once we reached Cathedral Cove all were feeling it. It was becoming obvious who had a bit more fitness. I am ashamed to say I wasn’t exactly the fastest but I knew pre tour I had some feet and leg issues and the doctor had recommended only do the easy walks.

From Cathedral Cove it was over to Hahei where all had boldly stated they would have a swim. I warned them the likely water temperatures but they told me English beaches were colder. Not one in the end braved the water. Feeble excuses made such as rain on the way. They were right there was rain in the distance but today it never ended up where we were.

Over to Whitianga for their lunch. Again not on the agenda but they were very happy to have done.

How that place has changed from when I spent a lot of time there in the early 20’s age. Even met my first wife there who although I left after 23 years, we did have 4 great children together.

Back to Tairua. I put some over at the walking track to the top of Paku Hill and told hem that is as far as I go. They will walk back. Hopefully the tide by then is well out as they will be able to take the shortcut over the estuary.

I am not used to eating 3 meals a day but it seems some expect me to join them for dinner. So I guess today I will eat dinner, just hope there is a minimal choice I can make. Certainly do not want a steak.

Tomorrow, Whangamata, Tauranga/Mt Maunganui, Hobbiton then Rotorua. Hobbiton does not give me a buzz personally but I have seen it a number of times

Two nights Rotorua before we head to Napier and on south from there

Day 1 of 18 with a group of 8 from England

Day 1 of an 18 day tour with 8 from England

A good first day. We met briefly last night and several I had dinner with at a restaurant on the Auckland waterfront.

Today we departed the hotel at 9am. I think one of the group was still away in fairy land recovering from his long haul trip from England to here as he arrived at the vehicle supposedly ready to go, but no suitcase. I politely asked if he was travelling light and he looked at me strangely then saw the suitcases and the penny dropped so to speak.

Once finally ready we headed over the Auckland Harbour Bridge, did a quick U Turn at the first exit purely so they could see the city from the North Shore side of the harbour. From there a trip around the water front and up to a viewing area for photography. Then on to Mt Eden for even better sweeping views of Auckland and more photographs. And then the heavens opened. A huge deluge of hail and rain with a bit of lightning thrown in for good measure. Thank goodness we ad completed our brief sight seeing trip around Auckland.

Off we head for Coromandel Peninsula. Two nights staying in the beautiful Tairua. I know the accommodation well having stayed several previous tours. Lunch in the township of Thames. Gave my guests an hour there before heading for the Tapu/Coroglen Road. I had previously checked none get car sick and warned them this was a very narrow, winding metal road. But the alternative was the main road which was faster but no where as scenic.

The heavens again opened. Heavy hail that turned the road white followed by exceptionally heavy rain. Not the best road to be on in a tour van but knowing the road well I knew to just drive with caution.

We stopped at the giant square Kauri Tree. Needed wait in the vehicle until the weather cleared enough for them to get out. I had hoped to launch the drone here but weather just was not favourable for it. So stick with the normal cameras. 2 in use today, my large Canon with new memory card which appears to have corrected a previous fault, and my pocket size Sony. I find the Sony great for just a quick snap shot and the odd video. No where as sharp as the Canon but fulfils the role I need it to do.

Not a great photography day but then it was never going to be around Auckland or on the drive we did today. Tomorrow a few beaches to visit but other then that a rest day for the group to help get over the jet lag before we get into the tour proper