It's a public holiday here today in NZ - Waitangi Day when they celebrate the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi between Britain and the Maori Chiefs in 1840 - and we're fortunate enough to be spending that day in Wellington for two reasons. The first is that we have spent the morning in the fabulous Te Papa museum, one the very best musuems I have ever spent time in. Incredibly modern and interactive in how it engages with its visitors of all ages and with guides that are truly passionate about sharing their history with you. If you are in Wellington, you really should make sure you put aside a few hours to visit it. It's time very well spent. The second is that Sam's very good friend, Jane, has very kindly invited us along to a BBQ at her home this afternoon. I'm really looking forward to seeing her - I'm sure our paths have crossed many earlier times in our lives through sharing special times with Sam. And it will be lovely just to have a bit of 'home-from-home' time having now been staying in hotels and eating in restaurants for the past two weeks.
En route to Wellington we stopped off for a night at Lake Taupo, an enormous lake which was created following the eruption of NZ's largest volcano. We took the opportunity to chill by the lakeside with a swim in the hotel's wonderfully warm swimming pool and then soaked up the view enjoying a few drinks.
Next day we headed off to Wellington - a bit of a trek but with some wonderful views on the way - including the view into the city from Mount Victoria which was spectacular. The scenery along the way reminded me a lot of Scotland and, in some parts, felt a little like travelling back home across the A66. The highlight of the journey for me was a stop off at Huka Falls, a thundering waterfall created by a narrow channel along the Waikato River. The power of the water was incredible. It's definitely not a stretch of water that I would wish to travel on! According to our guide, an experienced canoeist, a number who have tried to travel down it have unfortunately not made it out the other side ...
So only one more day to enjoy of the North Island and then we're taking the ferry across to the South Island. The weather here has not been at its best but that's probably a good thing given my propensity to burn at the slightest hint of sun!. The wind is pretty strong and the sea is looking pretty rough. I suspect the crossing tomorrow morning will be a little rough so I'd best make sure I pace myself this afternoon and not enjoy Jane's BBQ too much!