Yesterday was the day for coming home.
As I said there is much to commend New Plymouth. A few grumbles too, like the world’s slowest traffic light cycles, and the meanest most suspension-busting speed bumps. On the whole though, it is a city I could live in. Mary went out for her customary early morning walk (whatever that is), and I was enjoying the comfort of my bed. She came back almost immediately and said the mounting is pristine this morning. Get out there! Ever the dutiful spouse, I did and caught this view of Taranaki/Mt Egmont as framed by the ribs of the Te Rewa Rewa bridge.
And then it was onto the road South. We didn’t go far when we saw the sign for Lake Mangamahoe, just ten minutes out of the city. It is a man-made lake of about 31 Hectares with many nooks and crannies, and is contained within extensive parklands with many trails for pedestrians, cyclists and horse riders. Of course I wanted the birds, but didn’t have the time to look for the bush birds. However the lake well populated with waterfowl. This paradise shelduck is having a good shake to clean her feathers.
It was nearing lunchtime when we were approaching Eltham. A sign that said Lake Rotokare was just 12km to the East attracted us and so we took that road. The hillside paddock with its curving lines seemed worth a shot. I liked the clouds too, though some of them are attributable to contrails from aircraft flying 5 kilometres overhead on their way to or from Wellington or Christchurch. If if you are a conspiracy theorist perhaps they are “chemtrails”.
Inside a strong predator-proof fence is pretty Lake Rotokare (rippling lake). There is a reasonably friendly 4.5 km walk around the lake. By friendly I mean that it stays fairly close to lake level all the way with no serious climbs or descents, though it got very muddy and treacherous underfoot in places. There is a much more strenuous ridge track for those whose life is incomplete without serious climbing.
Again there were waterfowl on the lake, but for us part of the great joy of our time walking the track was the continuous volume of birdsong. We hear bellbird, tui, waxeye, warblers and even a shining cuckoo. The bush was magnificent with frequent gaps through which life on the lake could be seen.
And so we are home again.