After doing the Tongariro Crossing on Wednesday, both of us thought a nice easy day would be great, so a drive through Tongariro National Park seemed a good idea. Welllll, once we were out and about, taking a short walk to see an impressive waterfall seemed manageable; we were not disappointed:
Further down the road, we came upon Chateau Tongariro, a gorgeous luxury hotel – turns out the “Lord of the Rings” cast/crew stayed there while working on the movies … it was lovely, but we did not stay for High Tea ($35/two).
The afternoon was capped with a 6 km hike to see Taranaki Falls, also grand and impressive.
Our nice easy day didn’t quite turn out as easy as we’d expected, but it was completely satisfying.
Our goal on Friday was to reach the Willis home in Wellington by late afternoon, so we left Turangi with the entire day ahead of us. An Army Museum was along the way, so we stopped in for a look-see; some three and half intriguing and sobering (Historic war displays, no matter how well done, are sobering.) hours later, we finally pointed the car in Wellington’s direction and did not stray (except for a nice ice cream cone in a unique little place called Bulls).
Our time here with Richard, Penelope, Harriet and Ruby has been refreshing, interesting and comfortable. It’s a treat to be in a home for a change and our hosts are charming, personable folks.
Penelope and Harriet accompanied us on a trek to the Parliament buildings, a downtown Anglican cathedral, and TePapa Museum. There was much to be seen, including an amazingly huge ammonite.
We also re-connected with Mac and Sue Beggs from our UCSB days (some 30 years!) ago in nearby Martinborough, dropping in on their daughter Sarah’s day-after-wedding brunch. It’s been wonderful having people be our priority instead of just fantastic places.