11 October 2005 Lake Taupo

Started the day at a spa, the water coming directly from volcanic springs – very hot! I had an excellent massage which seemed to open up every muscle in my back and neck. After shopping and lunch (there’s a certain consistency to a holiday with Madame and Pest), we joined N and E for a … Read more

10 October 2005 Lake Taupo

Drove N’s car, following her and E in his car, to Lake Taupo, through an exciting range of landscapes – sheep pasture, angular foothills, rainforest, pine forest, volcanic desert and lakesides reminiscent of the Scottish highlands. Stopped  at the Southward Car Museum where, as well as a nostalgic encounter with the first three cars my … Read more

9 October 2005 Wellington

Back to the shops, this time to help E and N buy a laptop. In the afternoon, a visit to a thoroughly entrancing Theravada Buddhist temple in the hills of Wellington, Bodhinyanarama. Up the path from the temple was a stupa, with a plaque bearing the names of local supporters who had died. Among them … Read more

8 October 2005 Wellington

A roller-coaster drive courtesy of E to the next valley to visit a vineyard in which they have shares. First stop was Cobblestones, an elegaic testimony to New Zealand’s agricultural communities of the 19th and 20th centuries. We walked through the old schoolroom (still used till the 1960s) and I played the pump organ in … Read more

5 October 2005 Wellington

Long flight to NZ, stopping for a few hours in Sydney Airport. Watched ‘Bewitched’ with Nicole Kidman on the plane, which was good, quite a nice twist. Flying into Wellington you immediately see that twisted, convoluted, almost corrugated New Zealand landscape. Our hosts met us at the airport and drove us in two cars through … Read more