After leaving Auckland the day after the disappointing quarter final we headed south west. A hundred and a bit kilometres on and we stopped in a place called Hamilton. A pretty place, we sat and had lunch next to the lovely Hamilton park and Lake Rotoroa. We then went and took some photos of the Riff Raff statue in the town centre, it’s there because Richard O’Brien, the creator of The Rocky Horror Show is from there (he also plays Riff Raff in the film). It was very cool, especially for Cat who loves The Rocky Horror Show, they even had instructions on how to do the time warp and a web cam to film people doing it. After that we had a little look around the beautiful Hamilton Gardens , it was a lovely day, you could easily spend all day there but we had to keep going to get to our next stop, Raglan, the famous black sand surfing town. We thought the sand looked more grey than black, apparently its due to the iron content, still nice though, had a little look around the pretty town then watched the rugby. Got talking to a welsh guy who was obviously happy about Wales getting through.
The next day it was raining, typical you can’t get a few nice days together. Drove around to Manu Bay, the famous place for surfing, except this morning there was no-one surfing which was a shame but the water did seem very calm so no wonder. We headed on our way towards New Plymouth through some very pretty hills and forests and even a few tunnels cut out the side of mountains. Eventually got to New Plymouth and it was raining then we were told its the wettest place in the North Island, sigh. Braved the rain and had a look down to the lovely black sand beach before giving up for the night. The next day the rain had settled a little so we walked 3kms of the coastal walkway into the town centre, it was a lovely walked. Got to Len Lye’s Wind Wand but it didn’t look that impressive due to all the sea fret you couldn’t see the top of it. We went into the Puke Araki Museum and had a look at the exhibits, it was really interesting learning about the history of the Taranaki area. We watched a Maori cultural performance which was really really good and even got to join in. The boys got to learn The Haka, which Ste of course loved and Cat learned the girls dance, The Poi. It was a lot of fun. When we went to walk back the sea fret had cleared so you could see all along the beach, it was really pretty.
Cat woke up feeling really lausy as she had been coughing all night and the weather was crap again. We drove the inland route down to Wanganui, it rained all the way there. We had a little walk around the town and riverside and saw the cute paddle steamer but it really wasn’t the weather for any of that, which was a shame because it would be a nice place in better weather out on the river.
We left Wanganui for the long drive down to Wellington, but we got to make a few entertaining stops on the way. Our first place was at the town of Bulls, where all the signs for shops etc have Bulls in the title i.e. Const-a-bull for police station and read-a-bull for library, how they thought up of that we don’t know. Next we stopped at the town of Palmerston North, a cute little college town before continuing onto Levin where we had lunch next to Lake Horowhonua, a pretty spot with loads of ducks. Next stop Wellington.