We were very glad that we chose to include the Coromandel Peninsula, which a lot of tours miss out. The walk up to the 'Pa' and the ride on the Driving Creek Railway were highlights. The railway was created by an amateur enthusiast, who kept stopping, then going higher up the hill. 200 artists live and work on the land, so there are strange bits of pottery by the tracks, which have spirals and zigzags. They are replanting 1,000 native trees a year.
The journey onwards was very winding, so we were quite late arriving at Rotorua, which although it is supposed to be a centre of Maori culture, has been made rather like Las Vegas in parts. However, the hotel receptionist told us that we'd have 'an awesome view of the geysir' from our room, and we did!
The Sunday Eucharist at St. Faith's was lovely, and the Maori hymns were very tuneful, even though we didn't understand the words!
The onwards trip through the Tongariro National Park was fascinating, because parts of 'The Lord of the Rings' were filmed here. The Forgotten World Highway lived up to it's name. I drove down 15km of gravel road in a towering gorge lined with tree ferns. Very primeval!
Now in Stratford. Strange illuminations in the main street, some featuring Shakespeare's head! We've been told that we must visit local gardens tomorrow. The rhododendrons are in full bloom.