After Auckland we went to Rotorua where there is boiling mud:
and thermal pools with geysers:
Of course the pictures don't really do justice to the amazing eddying movement of the steam, or the plopping and hissing and whooshing, or the sulphureous smell for that matter.
Rotorua is also home to the Te Puia school of Maori carving and weaving where we saw lots of amazing work and I had a great discussion with an Aunty about working with New Zealand flax which has resulted in all sorts of interesting ideas.
Maori are the only polynesian culture to carve spirals and curves rather than just straight lines, and are they ever good at it.
After Rotorua we headed down the west coast making our way towards Wellington. I was very excited by the sight of my first snow covered mountain. In Australia you have to go up and up and up to even get near the snow, but in New Zealand you can be trundling along through farmland minding your own business - and bang all of a sudden there is a bloody great mountain.
We spent most of a day driving around this beauty - it was spectacular. We ended up in a tiny little seaside town called Otaki, no phone signal and one corner shop. Dinner was horrible but there were other things that made it more than worth while.
Once we got back I finished Scott's rug. Before blocking...