Saturday, August 02, 2008

Back and forth

Ben Carswell very kindly invited me on a tour of the North Island with him and his sister Emma's family. It was particularly nice to be able to tag along because I used to work with Emma back at UCCF a few years back so it was great to be able to catch up with her. So on the Monday we drove up via New Plymouth on the West coast because the desert road through the centre of the North Island was closed due to bad weather. My first time on the West Coast and it was really beautiful.

Ben at a bay somewhere near Taranaki Me with Emma, Ollie and baby Seth at Huka falls outside Taupo

We stayed overnight with the Shudalls in Auckland before driving on down to lake Taupo (NZ's biggest lake, said to be larger than the landmass of Singapore) via Rotorua. We stopped off in Rotorua, one of the most geothermically active regions in NZ, where we savoured the sulphury scented air (it's not that bad at all really) and walked around for a bit.

Me at the craters of the moon, just outside Taupo Anglican church sign in the town of Bulls

The following day we drove across to the Hawkes bay on the North Island's East coast where we visited some very nice vineyards (including one where Rod Stewart played a huge open air concert a few years back) before heading back to the bach we had rented in Taupo. The following day we drove down from Taupo to Wellington. We stopped at some famous and well worth a visit tourist spots, the Huka falls (water so wild it is illegal to kayake on) and the craters of the moon. The craters of the moon are bizarre. They are not particularly moon like in my opinion but it amazing to see the ground bubbling, steaming and smoking due to the geothermal activity so close the surface. We also drove through the always entertaining town of Bulls. All credit to them for not taking themselves at all seriously. I was particularly drawn to a sign outside of one of the churches (see above).

Mount Ruapehu, made famous as Mount doom but looking more like a ski field

We were blessed with good weather and were able to see the mountains spectacularly clearly (I am looking forward to going back to ski there later this month). It was great seeing cars pulled over on the side of the road, not due to accidents, but because people had pulled over to have snow ball fights and to make snowmen! We got back into Wellington that night haven driven 1900kms in four days. I had an amazing time so thanks heaps Ben, Emma and Ollie, and little Seth!

The sun setting over lake Rotorua

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It was really great to see you! I'll email when we're back in the UK in a couple of weeks.

Emma + Ollie and Seth