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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Day 3 - Tauranga to Wellington

After a good night's sleep (thanks to the soak in the pool) I wake up and after a cup of tea, go for another soak in the pool. A short one this time :))) Breakfast and packing over, we check out and decide to explore the water-front. The bayside is beautiful, the tide is out it looks like, and so the birds are busy on the mudflats looking for food. The breeze is strong and tosses the trees making the most beautiful music. I walk under some ancient pohutukawas (a native NZ flowering tree) which are not in flower yet but have these great masses of ariel roots growing downwards, some enveloping the trunk in some kind of rooty embrace :) While the young roots look red and tender against the dried up, brown ones. The houses lining the bayside look lovely and they somehow remind me of Kerala houses, basking in the warm sunshine, while people sit outside in summer clothes and sip tea or beer. There is a languid grace to Tauranga that is captivating and relaxing. And I somehow want to linger and lurk and stay on.

Alas! can't do that, so we pile into the car and head homewards. On the way we stop at a kiwifruit tourist attraction. There are acres and acres of kiwifruit plantation all looking happy and gleaming in the sun. We go into the tourist centre and I buy a kiwifruit soap, preserves and jam. And then it's driving again southwards.

The day is beautiful, and the countryside sparkles like a green jewel set off by the sunbeams. Lakes and streams flash by bluely and pastures and hills roll along placidly. Pine forests rise on both sides sometimes and the sunlight streams into the forest floor in long yellow fingers lighting up the grass and bushes on the ground. If a wind is blowing, the branches wave their arms at me as we pass :)

We drive through Rotorua and stop at Taupo for lunch. It's good to see Lake Taupo again, gleaming blue under the blue sky. I always find the lake amazing, I mean it's the crater of a volcano and it's so big on misty days one can hardly see the other side. And this great opening filled up with fresh water fed by the surrounding rivers and streams. The water is calm today and there is such a feeling of sublime peace when I gaze at it. Sigh. I feel like lingering and gazing at the lake for a long time, but the tyrant with its ever-moving hands reminds me that we need to get to Wellington soon.

So we're off again. We stop again at Rations Cafe in Waioru for a cup of tea and then I take to the wheel. In spite of my best intentions, I make of couple of reckless mistakes one of which I'm sure must have given the driver of a massive truck a massive heart attack :((( I feel sorry for a long time afterwards. By the grace of God we reach Wellington by 7.40, in one piece, relaxed but tired, having had a wonderful time up north.