Monday 11 November 1996

A Land down under

To celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary, and to placate relatives, we spent most of November and some of December '96 in the North Island of New Zealand. We were based out of Inglewood, near Mt. Taranaki (left). This picture is taken from somewhat south of there (on the dirt track that masquerades as a national highway from Taupo), on one of the rare occasions where it was not hidden by cloud.

The flight out departed late afternoon in the depths of autumn from LHR, and chased the fading sunset up over Scotland, and into the arctic, where a strange wan light glimmered over the ice. Dark fell as we turned south, over the Dakotas, that sprawl of light that is Las Vegas, to LAX. Although we were flying business class (really not a luxury for long haul flight), and could have used the posh lounge, we didn't feel like facing US immigration to get out to it, but just got back on the plane as soon as possible for the long dark flight over the Pacific to Auckland at dawn, to change to a local flight for the hop to New Plymouth. Cloud prevented much in the way of views, but we were pointed out the plumes of ash rising from the central volcanoes that had recently started erupting gently.

We were met by Karen's uncle Brian and his wife Judy at New Plymouth airport to weather that seemed to have come along for the ride with us - cold, windy and raining. After a shower and change, we were taken out to the Pukekora park and fernery to sample the distinctive vegetation that makes the green and rugged terrain look exotic. Forcing ourselves to stay awake until gone 21:00 local, we collapse into bed only to be kept awake by a stormy night of wind and heavy rain.

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