I now have coins that have a young portrait of the queen on them, coins that have a slightly older portrait of the queen on them, a full set of the current coins, and a handful of coins with special designs.
I collected the current coins, the current bills, a slightly older set of bills, a couple of older coins, a special $10 note, and a squashed penny from The Interislander ferry.
Below is a chart showing when changes were made to New Zealand’s bills and coins. (The change from a yellow line to a green one indicates the switch to decimal currency.)
It seems like every government bank, bureau of printing and engraving, or monetary authority likes to taunt visitors with displays of cancelled bills no longer able to be used as money. Here’s the display at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand:
My husband and I went along with his parents on part of their whirlwind trip through New Zealand and Australia. It was one of the longer trips I’ve ever been on (8 to 27 December).
We covered a lot of ground in planes, trains, and ferries, though I feel like what we saw in Australia was just the tip of an iceberg—or rather, a continent.
I took 2270 photos.
There are lots of landscape photos, flowers and birds, a selection of Christmas trees, some architecture (including earthquake damage and graffiti in Christchurch), interesting textures, signs, and selfies with (among other things) various trees, a plush wombat, and the Sydney Opera House.
Since (even after weeding out the less good ones) there are still an overwhelming number of photos, I’ve split them up into different posts chronogeographically.
The Royal Botanic Garden gets its own post because there was a lot to photograph. See below for 67 photos, mostly of birds, flowers, trees, and more harbor views (as if there weren’t enough photos of the bridge and the Opera House already).
Below are 58 photos, mostly of Sydney Harbour and the Sydney Opera House.
I was pleasantly surprised by the Opera House tour. Exploring the structure was more interesting than I had been expecting. The shapes are regular and yet unusual at the same time. Historic, groundbreaking, stunning.
Since moving to Singapore, I’ve spent many Christmases in places that don’t have winter. This year I celebrated the holidays in a place that does have winter, but has it at a totally different time of year.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around the idea that winter can happen at different times of year. It’s almost easier to believe that winter is hot and summer is cold than that winter takes place during the, uh, summer months (June, July, and August) and that Christmas takes place during summer.
While in Australia and New Zealand, I took photos of Christmas trees and other holiday items that looked festive yet incongruous—none more so than this sign:
I enjoyed visiting four different bookshops in downtown Melbourne.
Hill of Content Bookshop sells new books. I was surprised to see that they had two full-height shelves on the subject of “Critical Thinking”. I was even more surprised when I noticed that the adjacent subject was “Religion”, and had only been allotted one full-height shelf. Ouch.
The Paperback sells only new books, but the space felt cram-packed with an eclectic mix of books the way a used book shop feels.
Kay Craddock is a longstanding Antiquarian Bookseller with a charming collection of hundreds of owl figurines perched on the shelves alongside the books. The place reminded me somewhat of the venerable Atlanta Vintage Books, where I used to work.
City Basement Books sells used and rare books, and after emerging from a confusing tangle of twists and turns among the shelves, I bought three.
My husband Aquinas did, too. There are no photos and no video, though, so I’m afraid you’ll just have to imagine us skydiving. You can have a look at Nzone’s Instagram photos or their promo video; that should help. After all, one person in goggles and coveralls falling from the sky and grinning from ear to ear is much like another.
See below for my notes on why we went skydiving, what it was like, and why I’m glad I didn’t record the experience.