On the first day, after we arrived, we decided to have a swim. The lake was still warm but an nor'easterly wind had churned up the lake edge and the green weed stank. But we braved the waves and soup at the edge and afterwards raced home for a shower. We are becoming concerned about the state of Lake Taupo - often there are algal blooms and weed seems to be encroaching towards Pukawa from the south.
|Babes in Taupo Moana|
For the second day we settled for a gentle walk along the lake edge down near Kuratau - and an icecream!
The weather looked miserable for the next day so we headed over to the 'Top of the Bruce' on Mt Ruapehu. Here the standard of coffee and cakes were excellent and we spent some time gazing out at the mist and talking to a couple who were from Toowoomba in Queensland. He was an ecologist and they lived in a lifestyle block covered with 'woolleybutt' where they had built a house within the eucalyptus forest. We were able to assure him that the toitoi along the road was not Argentinian pampas. This set the tone for a day when we had all day to do not much, and took time to talk to strangers.
|The High Life|
Bidding our now Aussie friends goodbye we descended onto the Chateau and decided to have a look inside - maybe order a cuppa. In the lounge we settled down by a window where a great view of Ngauruhoe was to be had (but not right then) - and out of sight of the staff. We enjoyed the limited view and chatted. The staff, in the form of a charming African Canadian woman, eventually discovered us, apologised for not spotting us earlier and asked if they could help us. We thought we'd rather like a look at the morning 'tea' wine list and eventually ordered a glass of wine each. This improved the weather and Ngauruhoe cleared. After a few sips of wine we noticed that it was getting close to lunchtime so we recalled the waiter and ordered a brusceta each for lunch. Very nice too and over the course of lunch and our glass of wine we talked to the staff who were very friendly and during our interviewing of them (an Australian, an Argentinian, a Czech and an Englishman) found out a lot about their travels and interests. Also, we had an interesting conversation with a couple (Irish immigrants to NZ) nearby and who were having 'high tea' to celebrate one of their birthdays. It was all very relaxing and we eventually retired to Pukawa for more wine and dinner. A great day and made nicer by taking the spare time we had to make conversation with everyone we met!
We were, by now, right into the relaxed mode so next day we thought we'd deplete the kids inheritance further by taking lunch at Lakeland House at Braxmere - nearby. It was open but when we arrived the carpark was full and a private function was happening - but yes, they could accommodate us and provided a good table away from the function. The food and compulsory glass of wine were excellent and we were entertained by the beautiful singing of the local tangata whenua, Maori, one of whose birthday it was. Next morning we congratulated ourselves on such a disgustingly slothful break and returned to Hamilton.