Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Last Day

And so we came to our last day in New Zealand.

We started out in Rotorua, having breakfast looking out over a sun-speckled lake.  Lindsey and I took a stroll along the sandy lakeside.

We were ready to leave very early, so we drove into Rotorua itself and had a wander through the Government Gardens.  It was a very pleasant place to have a potter, and there were some beautiful buildings, but Lindsey and I were both agreed that it would have been more accurate to have named the place the Government Lawns.  There were *some* flowers but mostly it was rolling lawns.  Although we did find this:

An enormous Rose Garden, of which this is just a portion
After a not very exciting coffee and cake in a not very exciting cafe, we made our way up the middle of the country to Hamilton.  It was quite a pretty drive, but I have to agree with Lindsey that freeway driving, though efficient and effective, isn't anything like as interesting as taking the more scenic, slower roads.  However, as we were actually heading to Hamilton there wasn't very much choice :-)

When I told Freyja that we were going to Auckland and Rotorua for a few days she asked if we were going to visit Ellen and Noel.  Freyja and Ellen had worked together for a time in Sheffield and become friends, and Jim and I had got to know them in their time there.  They returned to New Zealand some years ago.  I knew what town they were in but didn't know where it was.  Freyja replied that it was about half way between Auckland and Rotorua.  I got in touch with Ellen, said we were about and asked if we could perhaps catch up.  We were invited to lunch.

And a very lovely lunch it was too.  Ellen had made a smoked salmon roulade from first principles.  We had salads and asparagus to go with it, and a NZ Sauvignon Blanc to wash it down.  We had home made ginger biscuits.  We had lots of fun, chatter and laughter. It was great to catch up with them again.

Ellen and Frannie, taken by Lindsey
And then it was time to make our way back to Auckland airport for our flight back to Melbourne.

When we tried to use the e-passport readers to get into New Zealand, they let Lindsey and me in with no trouble at all.  Jim either didn't get the little ticket you need or he didn't notice it to pick it up.  Either way, he had to go to the assistance desk to get in.  On the way out, the e-passport reader let Jim through, no worries - but wouldn't let Lindsey or me out.  We had to go to the assistance desk in order to escape.  Australian e-readers let us all in and out with no need of assistance desk!

We liked New Zealand.  We must go back for a longer stay.  Preferably without the excitement of earthquakes which have been troubling the country recently.  But for now, we are back in Melbourne and it is back to normal life.
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