James & Christine Round the World 2008 travel blog

Peter's Chemist shop, Manaia

TPS Waimarie, Whanganui river

Wanganui from Memorial tower

Pukeiti gardens on slopes of Mt Taranaki

Pukekura Park, New Plymouth

Mt Taranaki from Lake Mangamahoe

1st March

The drought ended today!!!! It's raining and getting windy and Mount Egmont (Mt Taranaki)has disappeared into the clouds whereas yesterday we had great views and fortunately took the photo to prove it.

We went up to some gardens but it was too wet to walk round so spent today around the house. I tried to teach Kathleen and Peter how to plat cribbage but they thought it was too complicated so they showed us Mah Jong!!!!!!!!! Nobody could remember the rules and the two sets of rules didn't agree with each other so it was an interesting game.

2nd March

The weather was brighter today and we went over to Hawera to Danella, Ace and Max, Peter & Kathleen's daughter in law and grandchildren. We went out to the Tawhiti museum with them and had lunch and a ride on an old logging railway which the boys really loved. They are aged nine and five and Max, the younger one is the spitting image of Trevor, my nephew who died a few years ago in a car crash. We went to the cemetery where the headstone is now in place and is very New Zealand in its layout and description with pictures of stock cars as well as the hand prints of his children and his pet dogs.

We played a game of croquet in the evening which was a new experience for both of us.

Being UK mothers day, Christine had received a card from Alison, a text message from Stuart sent on the saturday night (we were very impressed)and a later one from Katherine. As Peter does not get mail delivered on Saturday we had to wait until tomorrow to collect the card from Katherine.

I have been told that any emails i am sending are showing the sender (me) as AXSI63. Be assured this is me and is the user name allocated by Pipex my ISP which ordinarily is replaced with "jamescopeland".

3rd March

Peter checked the post at his chemist shop and the card from Katherine was waiting.

The rain returned today but we went to New Plymouth anyway and by the time we got to Tikorangi (The Jury garden) at Waitara it had dried up. This was another of the gardens we had read about in the RHS magazine. It is an historic garden packed with rare and unusual plants.

In New Plymouth we walked round part of the coastal path before going to the museum and then on to a lookout point.

In the afternoon we went to another garden, Te Kainga Marire, which has featured very recently on UK TV in a programme by Monty Don who had recently been in New Zealand filming a new series on New Zealand and Australian gardens. The owner showed us round the garden which is a suburban garden of native trees and shrubs with attractions of native Tui birds which they feed.

4th March

A brighter day again today. They seem to alternate here but the wind has turned southerly so it is quite fresh.

We went back to Hawera and Wanganui as we are meeting up with my nephew Christopher and his wife Victoria this evening. In the afternoon we went on a Paddle steam ship TSS Waimaire along the river Whanganui for a couple of hours and it was lovely in the sun with the views of the river and landscapes.

After this we went up to the lookout tower on Durie Hill which involves a walk into the hillside through a tunnel and then a lift up to the top of the hill from where you climb 176 steps to the top of the tower. The views were very good and you could see Mount Taranaki in the distance as well as all the wanganui district laid out below.

After descending the tower steps we decided to walk all the way down instead of using the lift but didn't bother to count the steps!

It was a nice meal in the evening although the speed of service and waitress's knowledge of the menu meant it was a drawn out meal. It was good to meet Victoria for the first time and catch up with Christopher's news of the farm he manages and their plans for the future.

5th March

Today, Danella and her boys were coming round for tea so kathleen stayed home to prepare and I drove with peter & christine round on the coast road to the lighthouse and then on to Pukeiti Rhododendron gardens. These are the premier gardens in New Zealand and we enjoyed a couple of hours walking through them even though the main plants were not in flower. After lunch we travelled on to New Plymouth to Pukekura Park which has a very good cricket ground in a natural amphitheatre and lovely lakes and waterfall. After a wander through the fernery we travelled on to Mangamahoe lake where there are the best views of Mount Taranaki which is shown on many of the postcards.

It was good to see Danella, Ace and max again and after tea we had another game of croquet which I managed to improve on my previous attempt by winning. Obviously i haven't yet learnt that the children are supposed to win!

It's that time again when we have to pack and move on as tomorrow we are off to Waitomo.

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