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All good things must come to an end? I hope that’s not true … but this trip has.

I got up for my last day in the Southern Hemisphere and had a lengthy breakfast with Lynn, Gord and Brenda. I had one errand to run which Lynn helped me with. Then everyone left me to tackle the packing while they went and saw various sights.

I wrapped it up pretty quickly and, after a wee book break, headed up to a restaurant that I had seen on the corner called Malt. I wanted a big burger in me as I did not know about timing of the food on Air New Zealand.

Gord and Lynn were gracious enough to drive me to the Auckland airport. So I arrived in style and on time. It turns out that Air NZ has a 23 kg limit. Opposed to 25 or 27 on various Aussie airlines. Needless to say, there was some shifting of stuff between the “wee beastie” and my hand luggage. Technically, you were only allowed one piece of hand luggage but, luckily, it was not enforced so I could get my new motorbike helmet home as well (it was the item most on the cusp).

I had planned well and booked a seat right behind the bulkhead so I had extended legroom. Genius idea, Alex-of-2-months-ago!! The flight was ok. I watched The Darkest Hour. Pretty good Gary Oldman-Winston Churchill flick. Sleep came sparingly.

I landed in Vancouver and whipped of the plane and thru the nexus line. I was the second quickest through the process and then had to wait for 20 for my bag as it was one of the last off.

Bion was kind enough to pick me up (with lovely Ella, no less) and I has through my door before 4pm.

It is absolutely fantastic to be home.

Thanks for taking the time to be with me on my travels.

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I have to describe my very generous accommodations in Auckland. Lynn has some Canadian friends arriving to stay today so for the last two nights I have been in the back up bed in the garage. Oddly, I’ve never slept on a more comfortable pullout couch. So firm!! One of the amusing things about the garage/bedroom is that it get bombarded by falling fruit throughout the night. Either small bangs of hazelnuts potter patter on the thin roof. Or the are monster bangs as the ripe avocados give it up and fall from 10m up. Boom! I had a few overnight. Very shocking though amusing.

So … my last partial day with the bike. I decided to break my fast with a non-Benedict Egg extravaganza at a local coffee shop called “Honey Bones”. It was one of the best breakfasts that I have had in my travels. Well done, Grey Lynn area in Auckland.

My game plan with the bike was to head west to one of the infamous black sand beaches. I picked Piha as my beach if choice. With my suspect nav-system in play, I was guaranteed a couple of missed turns etc. I did not disappoint myself as I zipped into a very turny, scenic road that ended at a dead end at the lovely beach at Huia. A little backtracking led me to the actual scenic route to Piha. This looks like a community where people come for a summer of surfing and then just check out for the rest of their lives. Very bo-ho and granola. Sorta a fun vibe.

To took an nice long walk on the beach with my feet in the NZ sand and then headed back to the bike for the next leg. I continued the scenic coastal route north until it swung eastward into the mess of communities to the north of Auckland. I jumped aboard the 1 and fired southbound.

Nav-system what it is, I guessed at when I was far enough south to start heading east onto the peninsula that has my bike-return destination at the North tip: Mauratai. I was way short. I zigged and zagged but the signage on these NZ roads can be surprisingly unhelpful.

Eventually I gave into the need for the phone to guide me in and strapped the phone into my jury-rigged handlebar mounting and proceeded. I landed back with Randal and Auckland Motorbike Hire. He organized at trip down to the local Ferry so that could take me back to Auckland proper. We grabbed a “good bye / thanks much” beer at the docks and then I took a solo-ride on a 50 passenger Ferry into Auckland.

Lynn had given me good advice on the bus routes that returned me to Grey Lynn and her house. The Canadian friends of Lynn had been successfully picked up in Rotorua and returned to Auckland. Soon after my arrival, I sat down with Audrey and Gord, Lynn’s Edmonton friends, for a sumptuous chicken dinner that Lynn had prepared in advance. The Edmontonians turned out to know some of the original investors of the Grizzly Paw so it was a bit of a catch-up. It’s a small world.

Dinner led to chatting into the eve and bed called to us all around 11pm.

Only one huge Avocado bomb hit the garage overnight.

https://www.facebook.com/alex.burnett.1000/videos/10155256545066128/

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I was up earlier than expected and had a leasurely tea and Hot-composed buns combo with Lynn. Then I hit the road for the second last day with the bike.

I had a false start at Auckland Hospital. I had been misinformed. It turns out that the present Auckland was not ever the National Woman’s Hospital. I was helpfully directed to Greenlane Medical Center, the actual site of the National Woman’s Hospital in the 60s. I found a good site at a bench shaded by trees for Dad Resting Place 5 (NZ).

Then I walked across the cow pasture and around to make it to the summit of One Tree Hill. It turns out that you can drive to the top. Not me, I wanted to walk it. A good hot 1/2 hour climb. The summit, which I am certain that dad would have done, was the location of Dad Resting Place 6 (NZ). Good view for Pops.

I walked back down to my bike which I was able to leave at the ex-Woman’s Hospital. I drew a line for the downtown core and whipped thru NewMarket and Parnell into the core. I found a good place to park for a few hours and a good place for lunch called “Amato” in the reinvigorated Quay area of downtown. Bocconcini and tomato salad with a crayfish tortellini pasta entree. Yes please.

Après-lunch, it was time to explore DT Auckland a little bit. The New Zealand Maritime Museum was closeby and drew my attention. The $20 fee was a bit of a surprise as it is the first museum in NZ that has had a fee. I threw caution to the wind and $20 on the counter.

Not surprisingly, the start of the exhibit had to do with the origins of the Maori coming to NZ. There twin covered canoes must have been truly impressive. Some of the big ocean-going ones could hold 200 people and supplies (including livestock). The celestial navigation that they used was interesting as well.

The history of the introduction of Europeans to NZ was a picture of competing Powers in a race to chart and understand the land masses that they were discovering. The documentation of various waves of European emigration. They had displays of the settler’s quarters throughout the 1800 and 1900s. There was a cabin that would have been similar to what my folks would have voyaged in when they went to NZ in the mid-60s.

The last display that caught my fancy was a display of the legacy of Kiwi Competitive Sailing. Well presented hands-on displays and Very very cool mini-documentaries. All in all, big thumbs up to the $20 Maritime Museum.

I walked around and explored a little of DT Auckland. I found a Vulcan Lane so that’s always good.

I headed home and Lynn was kind enough to provide food. She works at the AUT (Auckland University of Technology) and there is a cooking program offered by the school with two attached restaurants. These restaurants also sell frozen product from the classes. Lynn takes advantage of this great food often and I was the beneficiary tonight. Beef stew with Bulgar Wheat. Delicious.

Apres-dinner, some of Lynn’s neighbour/friends came over and we all chatted for some time. Basically, we burned off our energy and were asleep by 10.

A-OK

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I was outta the Quest in Hamilton quicklike … after posting two days worth of travel details. First stop was Metropolis for a Benedict and a latte. Good riding sustenance.

I mapped out a lengthy tour into Auckland today. Technically I could jump on the 1 and be at my destination in 1.5 hours. I am going to zig west to Raglan and then come in via some smaller roads until I am forced onto the 1. The roads were spectacular. I quickly witnessed numerous other motorbikes (and sporty cars) on the road that I had chosen by chance. This was obviously recognized as one of the better rides around Auckland.

Everything was going swimmingly until I rounded a corner and saw a loose black dog who immediate started barking at me. This is a rural area of farmland with little to no residences right on the road. Why would there be a dog off the lead who was aggressive towards vehicles on a road that definitely saw motorbikes? There was a rarity coming towards me around a bend in the road ahead. I veered as far to the right a safely possible (without going into the oncoming lane) and this hound matched my trajectory. He hit me/I hit him. Admits all the barking, there was a squeal. I saw the open-mouth expression on the lady who was driving towards me. I came to a stop and turned around. The sound that the day was making now as he trashed around in the middle of the road was brutal. I pulled into the farm-driveway and turned off my engine. The dog stopped barking and a slim farmer gent came down the drive. I explained that the dog had charged towards me and I could not avoid him. Obviously, the man was distraught. He said “don’t worry about it” and his wife came down from the house. She started speaking to Bob the dog, who had made it over to the reeds in the ditch by the driveway. The dog had eventually walked over though I suspect that something was broken. Brutal. She told me that it was his fault. Their kids were across the highway and had not controlled Bob. She said that I should continue on my way. I did.

I went a couple of kilometres and pulled over and drank some water and steadied my nerves. The remainder of my ride was very slow and steady. Twas a rather unsettling experience. Onwards.

I had been using my phone as a navigation-aid for the trip west and north. Unfortunately it started showing a low battery just as I was about to get on the highway 1 into Auckland. That would be the time that I would need assistance to get to Cory Faulkner’s family friend, Lynn Grant’s house. Oh drat.

I fumbled and had a stop & start entry to the city. I find that Auckland is. It great in sign-posting. Once you are on a road, they tend to mostly mark the cross-streets … but not always. So often you have no confirmation of which street you are on and sometimes the cross-Street is a mystery as well. A little frustrating.

I made it to Lynn’s house on time at 2pm and met the nice lady. She settled me in for a chat and a few glasses of water. Friends of hers had invited she and I to their house for Easter Sunday Dinner.

After a few hours, we headed out and, after a 20minutes Drive, we pulled into a great house that backed into a nature reserve. Simon and Jean-Pierre were old friends of Lynn and, these meals are something of a tradition. I was very pleased to be invited. The part was rounded out by a nice couple named Jean-Marie and his wife, Helene. A tour of the garden and wild greenery was offered and accepted. It reminded me of the area on Memet & Murray’s property known as the “Troll Bridge”. Wild and beautiful. Dinner was a Swiss raclete (I am misspelling it ,I am sure). This some great cheese imported from Swizerland, Jean-Pierre’s home country. The atmosphere reminded me of a classic French Salon. The hosts stirred the conversation and poured the wine. Very gracious. It was a singular treat.

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Chatty Michael at The BnB in Coromandel that I stayed at gave a running monologue throughout the continental breakfast that was on offer between 8&9. I tried at one point to make it a dialogue; however, that thought was well over-ridden.

I did manage to steer the conversation towards useful topic though. Michael Scott (no relation) was momentarily at a loss for monologue material when I mentioned that I was heading the milk capital of NZ, Hamilton, today. Obviously grasping for knowledge to impart, he settled to give me a blow-by-blow accounting of the waterfalls that I might see if I took the very, very long way to Hamilton. Useful.

Honestly more useful was his suggestion that I could see some amazing sights if I headed north to see Point Jackson. It would be paved road turning to hard-packed dirt for the last 25km. My day was hypothetically short so I wanted to add a couple of hours of riding-sightseeing.

The paved roads were decent but, like many of the roads in NZ, undergoing construction. In this case, it was what seemed to be about a kilometre of ball-bearings on the road. Super-slippery on a bike.

The one-lane dirt was almost welcome when it arrived. I quickly rationalized that I was “Working for Dad” as I had in mind to spread a little Dad at the north end of the Coromandel peninsula. It was a technical ride and, all in all, fun. Oddly coming back was easier.

When I hit Port Jackson, I saw that it was indeed worthy. The journey offered some of the most amazing vistas that I have seen and the beach at Port Jackson had a pleasant degree of tranquillity. Thus was Dad Resting Place #4 (NZ) determined.

I stopped at a recommended coffee shop at Colville on the way back south. A wee ham, cheese and tomato sandwich with Latte would put me in good shape to lunge to the interior south of Auckland.

My ride down the Coromandel was a mixture of “wow that is fun” turns and “damn you construction”. Mostly I was left with putting the Coromandel Peninsula on the list of excellent areas to ride. Big props.

I hit the secondary highways once I was off the peninsula and tracked a hither-tither path to what appears to be the milk capital of the north island. I passed two enormous milk gathering depots. I’m looking forward to my latte tomorrow already. I have to assume that the coffee will be crazy-fresh.

I settled my bags at the Quest Hamilton. You might have noted that I’ve made a habit of Quests. Nelson, New Plymouth and Hamilton have all done me well. All clean, relatively spacious and (most importantly) very well located near bars and restaurants.

My guidebook steered me towards some restaurant called “Gothenburg”. What kind of pseudo-Swede would I be if I didn’t head to an establishment so well-named. I would have been so very fortunate if they had decided to close for the Easter weekend. Damn you, Jesus. I’ll smoke a turd in hell for that one.

Victoria Street seems to be the main drag in Hamilton and it offered a couple of other options. Some good local beers from “Good George Brewing” were quaffed at “The Local Taphouse” which is disappointedly located in the local Casino.

I headed down to Palete, another of the Lonely Planet recommended restaurants. The first person that saw me was a gal that could have landed the role of Pippi Longstocking. She nailed the ponytails and dropped me into a seat. To my right was the Table of Infamy: a table surrounded by choice vino.

In the end, I had some very tasty lamb chops with a cheese board for dessert. Yummy. I grabbed a photo of me in a Dr Evil-style chair on the way out.

I took a leasurely walk home and knocked down some laundry using my in-suite laundry.

Another fine weather day of good riding.

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To quote the Ramones: “Hey Ho, Let’s go!!”. It was time to leave Rotorua.

I sampled the non-Benedict breakfast fair and headed north. My inclination was to head onto the Coromandel peninsula and head for the town of Coromandel. Here is the rub: the town was booked out. Alex Axiom from earlier in the trip: reserve … especially on weekends.

So … balllsy or not? BALLSY! Without a reso, I headed north from Rotorua onto some fine curvy roads. The trip to the sold out town of Coromandel would be around 300kms. I figured that I’d seek vacancies and BnBs around 200kms into my trip.

The congestion on the roads surrounding the Easter weekend was almost immediately apparent. I got trapped repeatedly behind slow moving groups of traffic. However, I kept my cool and everything was tranquillo.

However, I did start a vacant/not-vacant tour of the Coromandel Pennisula. It’s surprising how many of these places do not change their signs to Not-Vacant. I guess I got to meet more nice and friendly Kiwis.

Low and behold, as I was pulling into the town of Coromandel, the very second property that I saw had an “Vacancy” sign hanging. I meet the friendly proprietor Michael Scott (no relation) and he showed me his clean, simple and pricy sleeping option in his 4 suite motel/BnB. I’m not fool … I said “Khe Ora” and settled my bags to the ground.

I was hungry so I headed into the surprisingly small town of Coromandel and grabbed a burger and beer at the
Star and Garter Saloon. Once again there was Smoking permitted on the patio. I moved inside and was quite satisfied.

I zipped up a hill that I had descended on my entry into the town and took some shots of the town. Then it was back to mi casa to organize for my (eventual) dinner.

Yum Cafe specializes in pizza but the chef put together a very tasty salmon dish for me. A bottle of wine and a wander home were a perfect cap to the day.

Once again, I had a day of warmth and next to no rain. Happy days

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My phone gently woke me and I headed in the direction of my first mission of the day: Jet Boating. The walk to the lakeshore took me by various eating establishments. A coffee-chain named Robert Harris was worth a try. The latte was tasty and the scrambled eggs and bacon hit the spot.

The flaneuring this morning was interesting. There are more Maori folk in Rotorua that I have seen proportionally anywhere else in NZ. I suspect that this is due to the history that Rotorua has for the Maori. There is also a large Maori influence upon the stores and restaurants. There are various “Cultural Experiences” that tourists can join. Usually geared around a meal, these have singing and dancing and a great big Haka. They would need Maori for these “shows”. One way or another, many more Maori around.

My walk continued down to the lakefront as I sought the Kawarau Jet Boat Company. The young gentleman who was due to pilot our boat gave his opening schpeel and, via mumbling, quick speech and a rich NZ accent, successfully obscured his name and 80% of what he was trying to say. We headed out on the jet boat for the 30minute tour. We stopped off of Mokoia Island in Lake Rotorua, which is the home of 30 endangered Bird species. We jetted over to another historic point where the female side of a Maori-style Romeo and Juliet took place. The mysteriously named young pilot pulled the requisite 360 degree turns to partially soak this three passengers. Good times. All in all, a pretty good experience.

Once I hit land again, I sought out coffee#2 and headed back toward the hotel via the Government Gardens. Some picturesque trees and some quarantined-by-earthquake Historical buildings were situated right on the sulphurous Lake.

The curse of the light-packed traveller is the ordeal of Laundry. I was due to do laundry today but I was thwarted early by the lineup at the hotel laundry. Delayed not defeated.

My second activity of the day was up. After many kms around the South Island and a brief therapeutic stay with the Cawthorn’s, I was due a massage. The hotel had an in-house spa and I was happy to make use of it. Once the massage started, there was some sort of time warp. It was an hour long massage that seemed to last for 1.5 hours. Best problem ever. The nice lady dug into my left shoulder which had been rather bugging me. Successful stress relief.

Laundry next, check!

Then it was time for my third activity. The bus picked me up at 5:20 for The Takani Maori Cultural Experience and Feast. I thought that it would be worthwhile to take in what was billed as “The Best Cultural Experience” in NZ.

The bus was mostly loaded with 25-ish people as I came aboard. The driver (whose name was 26 letters long and did not shorten it) was a very boisterous and chatty Maori gent who warmed up the bus with the meaning of “Kei Ora”, the NZ greeting that effectively means “to your health”. Impressively he then went to rattle off similar greetings in 61 other languages. Then came the next step: nominating a honorary chief. The driver was a hard core All-Blacks fan and said he needed a rugby player (former or present) to be the chief. I stayed quiet for a long time but there was no one else. I raised my hand and became the Takahe tribe’s honorary chief.

It wasn’t all glitz and glamour. The welcoming ceremony was considered a serious affair. I was taught how to accept a peace offering from a ferocious Maori warrior and how to do the traditional greeting with the village’s chief (maybe called the “hungi”: two touches of one-another’s nose with your own nose while right hands are clasped and left hands of one-another’s shoulders). No smiling and hands in front for the Warrior’s approach. It’s a shame that I could not get footage of this as I was front and center with another 3 bus-chiefs (one of which was the Tui tribe, so close!!!). After I took the peace offering (a silver fern) and greeted the chief, there was smiles all around and the serious portions were over.

We were led into the village to 5 different areas (that we rotated through). First was a stick-game where the kids would increase hand-eye coordination. I had to pick 4 agile folks. Next was the Haka training, where all the men in our tribe (including me) were coached and performed a Haka (of sorts, we sucked). Next, we learned about the ornate facial and upper-leg tattoos that the Maori have. Next was a discussion about the origins of the Maoris and the navigation that transported them. Lastly, was the “poi” game where the ladies in the crowd used effectively a one-ended bolo in a dance/martial art. All pretty cool.

Then the village chief asked us chiefs to led our tribes into a gathering place where the “hangi” was revealed. Basically it is a cooking pit full of yummy veggies, chickens and lamb.

Onwards we ventured to watch the men and women of the trip perform a few more songs as out food was put into buffet-form.

Lastly, we feasted. It was an all-you-can-eat extravaganza. Far too much good food and dessert. After food, we four chiefs were invited up to perform another flailing Haka. We still sucked.

The bus dropped us off and I quickly made the assessment that I wanted to experience soaking in the healing waters of the lake. Right by my hotel was the “Polynesian Spa” that offered 5 different temperature ranges (38/39/40/41/42 degrees C). I tried them all in the course of an hour. Brilliant.

Sleep definitely came easily.

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I rose at my usual 830 and packed up my gear. After this many days on the road, I can do it quite efficiently.

My mission to start this day was “Petit Paris” (a French cafe across from the Quest hotel that I was staying at) and the Len Lye exhibition at the Govett-Brewster Gallery in New Plym.

They were two simple tasks easily accomplished. The omelette had Brie in it. The latte was strong and tasty. Len Lye proved to be exactly the funky artist that I heard that he was. The gallery, which I saw the exterior of on D36, was architecturally fantastic. The wood benches in the gallery were also tres cool.

The weather included a little “spitting”. I thought that my gallery visit might lead to drier skies … and I was right. My ride to Rotorua was occasionally spitting but it never came close to requiring my wet-riding gear.

The coastal beauty slowly gave way to the same interior sights that I had seen in the Mackenzie district on the South Island. Imagine a selection of hills ranged from small to large. Cover the entirety with green felt. Add the occasional clump of trees. Add a smattering of sheep here and cows there. BOOM! You have the gorgeous NZ rolling beauty.

After the scenic routes around Dunedin, Highway 30 from Te Kuiti to Rotorua was my favourite. Dry, windy and almost free from traffic. An amazing highway to ride.

A faint rotten-eggs smell of sulphur told me that I was approaching Rotorua before I could actually see it. The “Bay of Plenty” area is active volcanically. Much of the town is laid out like Vegas in a long strip leading to the “Lakefront”. My hotel, the Millennium, welcomed me and I decided to book for an additional day.

Inge the Danish front desk gal tossed me a free couple of drinks at the bar as my room was not quite ready. Talk about a good welcome. I grabbed a plethora of activity pamphlets and quaffed a local brew.

After I was settled into my newly cleaned room, I headed back down and Inge was most helpful in booking some activities for tomorrow.

I headed down to Rotorua’s “Eat Streat” (not misspelled) to see about dinner. They have a single car-free block (which is covered by a raised covering) and it is jam-packed with restaurants. I chose Brew, a craft beer pub, and tucked into a fine rib-eye steak paired with a decent pale ale called “Enduro”. The Croucher Brewing Co owns the Brew establishment and makes some tasty beers (including the enduro).

“Ponsonby Rd”, Bar in Eat Streat, served up a fine Pinot Noir from Nanny Goat Winery in Central Otago, NZ.

I decided that an eve chilling with Jennifer Lawrence was exactly what the doctor ordered. So I went to the cinema and took in “Red Sparrow”. Not bad.

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Up at the crack of after-dawn. After a quick clean-up, I has down having toast and tea with Martin and Francis for the last time. They gave me some weather reports and pointed me towards my bike. The consensus was that … there would be no moisture on my ride. Considering that it was raining all morning that was a ballsy call. However, it proved correct.

The ride north from Plimmerton was dry and slick. I jumped off the “1” and joined the “3” west at Bull. I had a quick coffee and bagel at the Red Eye Cafe in Whanganui. Mmmm bagel and coffee.

Then it was on to the coast to New Plymouth. To paraphrase MLK “We didn’t land on New Plymouth Rock, New Plymouth Rock landed … on our top 10 of NZ towns”!!!! Great wee museum at Puke Ariki . Some decent restaurants. Beers and wings at GoodHome Restaurant.

Dash back to the hotel to change out of the grubbies and I was off to Social Kitchen for some decent food. Kara served me a Priscilla Sour to start the eve. Beef Tartare and Tomato&Boccocini Salad to follow. Some Australian d’Arenberg (remember my Adelaide tour?) Footbolt Shiraz red vino … hello!!!

It turned out that I was sitting in the area that the staff congregate in after work. The chef had a recommendation for a wind-down cocktail joint: Hour Glass. The advice was good. I had a well-crafted Moscow Mule.

Thumbs up to New Plymouth.

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I was met for the stroll to the Wellington train by Isabella Cawthorn. We did the downhill walk in record time likely giving Bella considerable blisters as she was elegantly doing the high-heels and Kona bike combo.

I think that Tjabo/Sarah and Bella/Glen would really get along. She is a bike-use advocate and he is a super-cool coffeeshop proprietor. Neat folk, these Wellingtoners are.

Off the train, we headed right over to Glen’s coffee bar in the CBD called “Green Land”. A fine coffee#1 and a cheese scone were enjoyed and then Bella walked me back to the pickup for my first destination of the day: Weta Workshop.

I jumped aboard a tour bus and was informed by tour guide Jackson about all the sights to see en route to the suburb of Miramar & the home of WW.

An American from NYC named Mike was the guide at Weta Workshops. He steered us to a 25 minute introduction to the original creators of Weta. Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor, and Tanya Rodgers formed the company on the backs of some b-level horror films and then matured into the tour de force that they are today.

The tour went quite deeply into the various facets of the process that Weta specializes in. Most interestingly, the armour-making, weapon-making, prosthetics and model making. A very good 2-hour tour.

I was deposited back at the end of Cuba street and walked up to the recommended Southern Cross bar and restaurant. I was keen to try their Poke Bowl but it was still “brunch menu time”. Three guesses what I had. They were good.

Next stop: Te Papa, the national museum.

One of the present focal points of Te Papa was developed by Weta Workshops, Gallipoli: The Scale of our War. It featured 3x size installations/dioramas of 9 notable people in the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign. More than supporting the dioramas were multimedia displays of the same subject. I spent more than 3 hour crawling thru this exhibition. It was amazing.

Eventually, I completed the Gallipoli exhibit and moved onto the rest of the museum. The modern art “wing” was very worthwhile (as my photos will attest).

Eventually I made my way back to Plimmerton and The Cawthorn residence. Francis was hosting a book-club at 7 and, after a wee late afternoon chat, Martin and I were purged during an the hill to the Taj Plimmerton, the local Indian food restaurant. Twas tasty. I introduced Martin to a decent Sag Paneer, something that he had not partaken of until our dinner.

We strolled up the hill to the casa and had another evening chat and called it a night.

Successful mission.