Rail strike (RMT) so roads out of city are very busy. Property pressures mean that smaller (affordable) developments start to ribbon the highway. Soon though we are on a flat agriculture plain, then small undulating hills, running parallel with a rail to trail cycle way. Very much like typical UK lowland landscapes. The rain also made us feel at home.

Somewhat bizarre and pleasant stop at the guide’s Mum’s (farm) house for coffee. Great waves of friendly tanned wrinkles. Then onto collect a “cabinet” lunch happily digested by the side of the blue lake. So called as it, and it’s neighbouring green lake, shows the colours of the minerals. Today they are both rain grey. Pleasant walk shows off the native trees. These contrast well with the redwoods we meandered through later – an import that didn’t quite reach the expected heights.

Today’s destination is Rotorua. Here the Maoris’ show and feast proudly samples their rich heritage. This includes the geothermal pools and some tentative geysers. A volcanic start to the tour.

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