It was nice to take some time and not rush off. Hanging out, went downtown with Ben an exsurfer from Sheffield, he's been kicking around off and on for years, tells great stories about these amazing camps he's been to here and in Auz. A beach near the coral reef, world class windsurfers, fishing , fishing. Oh and in Canada too, building a cabin south of Jasper, flyfishing and pulling in masses of trout. I couldn't begin to repeat his descriptions or the slang he uses. Bollocks! He took a board keel on the front of his skull, a "hard core fin chop" had a stroke while they was savin him and walks with a limp on the left. Truly a character.
The info sites are great for helping out travelers, I booked a kayak trip for tomorrow out to the Sugarloaf Islands in the morning before the "gnarly" surf comes up. Ben , he rebooked his flight for an earlier date... running out of money... We did a little shopping then had the ubiquitous meat pie for lunch. I headed off to Pukeiti Gardens about 20 k towards Mt. Taranaki. Looking at the map Taranaki is the central focus of just about everything here, even the surfers pay homage. At the info site there are dioramas and multi-media presentations describing the history and geology of the area and the mountain itself. An evening event here at the hostel is the slicing up a cake in the shape of Mt. Egmont (guess who called it that!) One slice per. If you climb it a flag of your country is placed into the icing...
The road to Pukeiti is like most of the roads, narrow and windy, lots of sharp turns and one lane bridges. Along the way I spied a black volks bug festooned in sequins (something shiny? "brilliant") suspended on tubular metal legs. I so wanted to take a picture! But no where to pull over, so on and on. I figured to snap one on the return.
The garden is quite beautiful, this is not the season for the best show, but there were flowers. I walked along the "river" to catch some shade, it was smokin hot. The ferns are quite impressive, some with a texture like leather, the photos don't come close. I was the only visitor wandering around the 20+ acre grounds. Huge Rhodos, fancy Hydrangeas, and some identification of the native species which I found quite helpful.
After wandering for an hour and a half I headed back. The volks was gone! The legs lying loose on the lawn. Bummer dude.
Ben and I made dinner together "mighty fine tucker it was too" as more backpackers arrived, some for the dorms, some staying in the motel section, mostly folks from New Zealand. Some from Germany and I didn't catch where else.
The mossies are out, time to close down.