We are now in North Island which is very different! We arrived late on Sunday afternoon after a rolling crossing from Picton to Wellington but marvelling at the lovely scenery in the Queen Charlotte Sound. On Sunday morning I'd run along easy tracks half way up a hill, on Monday I'd run through an industrial estate!, land of contrasts or what?
That morning we made our way, somewhat carefully into the capital city to look at the Te Papa National Museum. What an experience. Currently they are showing an exhibition about the role of New Zealand troops at Anzac Cove in the Gallipoli campaign of 1915 -16. It was simply magnificent. The quality of material and presentation was stunning, but, oh what a misguided idea to invade Turkey and at what a cost. Does History teach us anything at all?
The other exhibition we looked at was about Maori culture. There were some marvellous artistic artefacts and much to think about. The way in which Maori culture has striven to work with European settlers seems quite different to the Aborigines and Native Americans attitudes and procedures. We also noted that the carvings of faces and the expressions of the 'Haka' seemed remarkably similar.
Then northwards along the west coast including a delightful sunny outdoor lunch by the sea at Waikanae Beach towards Aukland stopping for a whole day in the charming town of Whanganui which has the most old buildings in New Zealand, 11% in fact. This is due to an absence of earthquakes in this area. They are however busy working on these lovely Edwardian and Victorian villas to make them earthquake proof for the future. We are in a land which lives with instability and extremes.
Tonight we are encamped by Lake Taupo amid the thermal pools and geysers, it is very beautiful and we have bathed in 34 degree open air pools and feel pretty good after it. Tomorrow we go in search of geysers. Tonight we are content to have watched a beautiful sunset and seen the thinnest sliver of moon ever.
It feels as though our time on New Zealand is running out rapidly and there is so much more that we could have seen of this simply beautiful country.