Seeing I’m a Melburnian and too dangerous to be let out, I thought I’d go through my old photos to see what was there, and came up with some very nice memories.
There are advantages I discovered, as a writer, to having a new virus flitting around, one being that, what with not being allowed to visit my father in his care home, no movies, no shows or Melbourne’s Comedy Festival, I had more time for projects I’ve been putting off for far too long.
One of these was a re-editing of my book, Hangi, Haka and Hobbits, relating my experiences while road-tripping around both islands of New Zealand. Now 10,000 words less (can you believe it?) it’s trim, taut and well, hopefully terrific.
I’m jumping around all over the place with my New Zealand memories, using those that particularly stand out in my mind. The night before heading down into Wellington, I stopped in the lovely art deco town of Whanganui.
Anyone who’s read any of my stuff would have realised I’m besotted with film sets and locations, so while in the north island of New Zealand I couldn’t miss out on Hobbiton, the location used for The Shire in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ movies.
It was recommended, while in Rotorua, that I visit Whakarewarewa Living Maori Village, which is to say people here still live in the traditional way. As I arrived, a guide was explaining the enormously long, original name of the village, to a group of school children. ‘Te Whakarewarewatanga O Te Ope Taua A Wahiao,’ she said, slowly. ‘Three hundred years ago, a warrior chief named Wahiao, got together an army to get back at the people who killed his father. And so that’s what the name means: The Gathering Place of the Army of Wahiao.
I returned to New Zealand in 2014, this time to the north island. I’d been looking at photos of Rotorua’s thermal wonderland for years. This was my chance to see it for myself. Rotorua is a nice town, set around Lake Rotorua.
While preparing my book, Hangi, Haka and Hobbits: Notes from New Zealand, the second in my Planning to the Nth trilogy, for publication in print, memories are flooding back.
In the next couple of weeks, my book, Hangi, Haka and Hobbits: Notes from New Zealand, will have been with Amazon for three months. To celebrate this milestone, I’m having a free offer.
Tourist information stresses filling the petrol tank before leaving. There are no service stations between Te Anau and Milford Sound and I know from this that I’m heading into serious wilderness. It’s a little daunting but I’m almost fearless, intrepid traveller that I’m becoming.
In Queenstown, I boarded the steamer, T.S.S.Earnslaw, for a cruise along Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Farm. T.S.S.Earnslaw is the last surviving of the grand steamships that graced Lake Wakatipu. It served the remote farming communities around the lake, transporting cargo, livestock and passengers. These days, it’s tourists.