When I last wrote, we were still in Whakatane.
From there, in the wet darkness of Thursday morning, we set out for New Plymouth via Rotorua, Atiamuri, Te Kuiti and Mokau. At Atiamuri, beside the Waikato River, the rain had stopped but there was a lingering mist around Pohaturoa. This rocky outcrop reaches 240 metres over the river and is a homecoming landmark for the residents of Tokoroa and Taupo, depending on the direction pf travel.
We drove beside the river where to my strong regret, I ignored some magical reflection shots on the river. We crossed the Whakamaru dam and followed the road towards Te Kuiti, pausing at Benneydale to record this abandoned pioneer cottage.
At Mokau, it was lunch time, and I could not resist the stunning whitebait fritters for which the restaurant is famous. And then on to New Plymouth. The house we rented was not in the first flush of youth, and I suspect a safety inspector might have some reservations, but it met our needs, and was splendidly located near the port. I woke very early the next and wondered if I could catch the view over the port at work.
Breakfast the same morning caused me to look in the opposite direction and from the deck we had a good view of the mountain.
In New Plymouth there is a new art gallery dedicated to the works of the late Len Lye. As I understand it, he gifted a significant collection of his work to the City of New Plymouth in trust for the people of New Zealand. Though I enjoy some of his kinetic works, I have the same reaction here as I did in the Guggenheim, in New York. I admired the architecture more than the artworks on display. This image , part of the “Four Fountains” was a thirteen second exposure attempting to catch the slowly rotating bundles of illuminated swaying rods. Tripods were prohibited for reasons that the person on the desk could not articulate, but which she somehow associated with copyright. Ah well, I wedged the camera on a chair and blocked it up with keys, a wallet and anything else I could find.
As I said the building itself is interesting, though much of its clever design is overshadowed by the immaculate polished stainless steel cladding on the Southern and Eastern walls.
That same evening, we went to Pukekura Park to visit the “Festival of Lights”. Though less densely presented than in previous years, the festival as worth a visit, and lots of families were walking, riding and rowing around and across the lake as thee chosen mode of travel dictated.
The next morning, while Mary visited her aunt, I went to the mouth of the Waitara river where I saw the oil rig ENSCO 107 about 10 km offshore.
And then, the next morning, we were homeward bound. On the long hill don into Whangaehu, we passed two steam traction engines, clattering their way from Whanganui to Feilding. They had left Whanganui at 9 pm and took just on twelve hours to cover the 65 km to Feilding. I sat in the long warm grass to get the angle, and was rewarded with a toot from the steam whistle as each engine passed.
At Bulls, there was a paddock that caused me to stop. A field of pure clover is not as common as it used to be, so I thought it was worth a shot. It was a wonderful journey, eight days in all. We saw lots of beautiful landscapes but as the late Andy Stewart sang, “they are not the hills of home”*.
So now we are back in Wellington, and who knows what comes next?
- The Scottish Soldier by Andy Stewart