Thursday, December 27, 2012

Puzzling World at Lake Wanaka

Day 4 of our trip down south and we awoke to crappy weather. So after quick trip to the lake to photograph the Tree in the Lake briefly in the rain, and a great catch-up with Roger Urlwin, who is a great landscape photographer in Wanaka we headed to Puzzling World. The perfect thing to do in Wanaka when it rains. Puzzling World has two parts - an outdoor maze and an 'illusion' part. We weren't interested in the outdoor maze at all, so just paid to do the Illusion section. 

We paid our $14 then decided we needed to visit the bathroom first...

This is what greeted us. An amazing illusion and ery well done. The sign said:

"Roman Style Toilets. View the Diarama from the centre of the room for the best perspective, and take an fascinating photograph! Roman toilets often had running water under the seats (Flush Toilets) and the Romans often carried a brush as part of their personal toiletries. This brush was used instead of toilet paper. The toilets here are to look at, not to USE"

So I took some photographs as they suggested...

Note  I purposely wore those socks especially for effect as I knew of this diarama in advance!  I also took lots of other photographs but was under strict instructions not to post them on this blog.  I'm open to bribery and corruption of course - just hit the donate button on the right hand side of the blog!!!

After much laughter watching other people there as well, we headed to the Illusion part. But wait. There's some flowers. Emily, Liz and I then started photographing these!

The roses were particularly good specimens as they were quite sheltered. I love playing around with textures and this is one I came up with which I'm quite pleased with.

But this has to be one of my best images of a red rose. Red roses often turn out pink in my camera, and I've always deleted them in disappointment. However I've finally mastered how to get them right in Lightroom so am very happy with this outcome. After about half an hour we realised we had paid $14 to photograph roses that are accessible by anyone. We laughed and tore ourselves away to actually enter Puzzling World itself!

First up was the Hologram Hall. Quite a collection of them and some big ones too.

In this one, as you walked back and forth a gun appeared, which was unexpected!

As you walked back and forth, she smiled or didn't smile!

On the walls were illusions such as these...

Are these lines straight? Or not. Even my camera was confused!  They are totally straight!

This was fun. A room fall of famous faces in the Hall of the Following Faces. No matter which way you went, the faces followed you. Here's Emily testing it out with one eye.

And Liz in front of Mother Teresa...

Next up was the Ames Room which was used in the Lord of the Rings. It's known as a forced perspective room where, when you look at it from the viewpoint it looks normal. But the shape of the room is actually really distorted. It is used to create tall people and little people as demonstrated here. First, in this image, I look really small in comparison to the height of the ceiling.

As I go into the centre, I still look small..

But in the middle, it now looks as if I'm of normal height..

But on the other side, I look way too tall..

and I have to try pushing up the ceiling to fit!

Emily, Liz and I all had fun in this room. Having cameras tripled the fun!

Next up was the Tilted House. The room is tilted at an angle of 15 degrees. All the displays are 'normal' and your brain cannot adjust to the fact the floor is tilted. It was particularly tough on me because my balance system is totally stuffed anyway, so the room did make me feel nauseous.

In the following image, Emily is actually upgright, she's not leaning forward at all.

Although it looks like Liz has gone uphill, she had actually gone downhill - where she is, is actually the 'bottom' of the ride. This felt particularly bizarre.

Here Emily is trying to walk uphill, and it's quite hard to walk because the illusion is so strong and your brain can't cope with the fact that the floor is sloping. I wonder how long it would take for your brain to get used to it. I certainly hadn't after 20 minutes.

The swing permanently on a slope - again - another illusion because it's actually the walls at an angle as is the floor. The brain continually straightens up the room at the expense of the expense of the displays which seem to hang at impossible angles.

Out to the Cafe where they had a mirrored ceiling which gave great abstracts...

Finally we ventured outside where lots of tourists were in line to get interesting photos with the leaning tower... Here's Liz trying to hold it up!

I ventured back to the car and sat opened up the side door, and sat in the passenger seat while I waited for Liz and Emily to catch up. As they approached, something moved and gave me a fright. A songthrush had flown into the van (most unusual), and got frightened and flew into the front, landed on the dashboard and stared at me. I didn't think to get my camera out! I slowly got out on my side and moved away, and Emily opened her side up and it flew out. not before leaving a white deposit on top of the dashboard!

So that was our afternoon. Fully Recommend Puzzling World, especially on a rainy day when outdoor activities aren't so good.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas Day 2012

Christmas Day in Marlborough dawned bright and sunny.  And Hot.  Super Hot.  Thank goodness we were spending it at Liz and Steve's Bach in Onahau Bay in the Marlborough Sounds.  The best place one can ever spend Christmas!

We duly arrived at the public jetty by 9.15am and shortly after we spied a fast boat travelling our way. 

Seemed to take ages to get her though as once around the corner, the speed limit was very slow right up to the wharf..

That's a familiar person on that boat..

Oh no - she spied the camera! Looks similar a scene from out of the Titanic.. Although I have a sneaking suspicion that the Titanic sunk. Thank goodness it's too hot for icebergs today!

Hi Liz!

We loaded up the boat with all our gear - we were weighed down with Christmas presents, booze, cherries, berries, salads, togs, towels, and sunblock. We left the kitchen sink behind though! And then we left Picton behind...

On the way to the bay, we came across this sight, so Steve detoured our boat to have a closer look...

Oh a Costa Cruise.  Visiting the Marlborough Sounds! The water was incredible, flat, clam, and the usual beautiful colour of the area.

You'll have to excuse me but I took a few photos of the boat because it was such an imposing sight!

And I wasn't sure of it's best side.. We took lots of photographs and waved to the tourists, and I mused that we will probably end up on their blogs! As we were leaving, the Cruiseship was turning and then it was heading out of the sounds to its next destination..

We arrived at the bach to freshly made breakfast of hot croissants, Ham, cheese, tomato, and beautiful fresh fruit and yoghurt.  Absolutely delicious. It was already 28C, so we decided to do the Christmas Presents while it was still 'cool'. For just eight people, there were a heck of a lot of presents under the tree...

And so after all that hard work of shopping, choosing, wrapping and importing them to the bach, the enjoyment of opening started. Louise and Jeremy getting into the swing of things...

Mum enjoying the book I gave her full of images of her Grandaughter, Anne.

Steve concentrating hard.  I think he was trying to guess what was in there before he opened it. He was Santa Claus, but I'm still pondering the 'try me' on his hat. I didn't take up the offer though!

Liz looking excited about her pressie...

And Alex is hidden by the enormity of his present, and is totally hiding Amanda at the back there!

Oh - and this is our view.  Beautiful NZ bush with flowering Pohutakawa and blue blue sea and sky. I heard it was raining in Auckland and north. Shame!

We then went down to the jetty as it was too hot inside the house. Made ourselves comfortable, and we relaxed, drank, ate, swam, jetskied, fished, and generally had a great time. I should mention that this was my first swim in the sea since arriving to Marlborough three years ago. But it was sooo hot (30C) that one had to. Louise made us champagne cocktail consisting of Rhubarb, Orange, Honey, Strawberries and Champagne. Louise may come and live with me at any time!

While we were relaxing another cruise ship ambled by..

Jeremy and Louise took off to find out what one it was, but it's very unusual to see them go past this bay, as it gets quite shallow. We wondered if the ship would run aground and we would end up with more people for Christmas dinner!

It was the Diamond Princess this time and it went a little way further then turned around and ambled back...

Late in the afternoon we went back up to the bach, made the salads, prepared the whitebait fritters, drank some more champagne, and looked at the view...

This was our view at the table...

After munching on whitebait fritters, we tucked into Christmas dinner. Ham, Lamb, salads, new potatos, and all good things... We finished up with dessert of Christmas Pudding, Lemon Snow, and Louise had made the most amazing frozen yoghurt.  So yummy.

Merry Christmas everyone...

We were dropped back to Picton about 8pm and the moon was in the sky already.

We arrived home to summer heat.  My outside temperature guage read 36C at 8.30pm, inside was 38C!   We opened all the doors and windows but decieed it was still too hot, so we shut everything up and put the aircon on to cool us down.

I gave my poor abandoned puss a can of tuna for dinner - her Christmas special so all is forgiven for leaving her all day already!

At 10pm it was still 27C outside, and midnight still 25C. Pretty warm.

We also skyped Anne for several hours and thoroughly enjoyed catching up with her and Jori. Anne opened all her presents with us while we were on skype so that was really fun. She also gave us a tour of her apartment. I can't wait to get there! 111 days to go!