Monday, 23 February 2009

On my way to Napier NZ

Here I am in New Zealand.

The road along which I drove south from Auckland is State Highway One which runs from the extreme North of the North Island down through Auckland all the way to Wellington, some 250 miles. It then jumps across the strait to Blenheim in the North of the South Island and runs another one hundred miles to Invercargill, the most southerly town in New Zealand. Invercargill sounds Scottish and has a climate to suit. A small country has quite a range of climate. The extreme north is almost sub-tropical with tree ferns and avocados sold by the roadside in bagfuls.

For some fifty miles south of Auckland Highway One is busy but not congested Motorway or dual carriage-way and then I turned off to avoid Hamilton the second largest town I think in NZ and on to Cambridge a centre of rich pastureland and horse-breeding. Here is the splendid 19C Church, entirely timber-built.

The road heads south through wooded hills with rocky cliffs down to the lakeside town of Taupo.Taupo is a not very attractive holiday resort on the edge of the great crater lake some twelve miles across. From Taupo the blue mountains of the central range form the skyline to the west.

Highway One continues south up over the arid upland plateau in the rain-shadow of mountains to the west and past to the east Mt. Ruapehu a still active volcano but paradoxically skiing areas,. I recommend Google Maps or Google Earth to follow all this.

The road to Napier heads west up over a plateau and through one of the world’s larger planted forests where in plantations the Radiata Pine grow to large trees in some twenty-five years. It must be nearly fifty miles without a filling station before the road meets the coastal mountain range and winds up and down into the valleys and across the rivers for another twenty-five miles. I met low cloud and some rain too over the hills. There is a steady flow of traffic. On the hills a passing lane often enables slow trucks to be overtaken. Then the coast, the Pacific Ocean and Napier town and port where my cousin and many of his family live.

So now let me see how this posting works before I put in a lot more about the Art Deco weekend which is the interesting topic. As they used to say in what were called teaser advetising campaigns, 'Watch this space!'

1 comment:

  1. Dear Broadmeadblogger,
    Good to hear from you and that you have safely arrived in New Zealand. Regrettably my stay in that beautiful country only lasted a few days. For several years in 80s I was very fortunate to be chairman of one of the Technical groups of the TTCP (The Technical cooperation programme) originally set up just after WW2 to promote cooperation between defence researchers in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the UK. Group meetings were held rotationally in the participating countries; we also took the opportunity, as convenient, to visit various relevant research laboratories of the participating countries. This particular group meeting was to take place in Sydney. Thus we had an arduous journey flying the ‘wrong way round’ stopping off to visit an idyllically sited lab on Oahu where we spent an R&R weekend before flying on to Auckland. Soon after we landed I recall observing that if 100 years ago someone had been foolish enough to predict that it would eventually prove possible to hurtle through the air for several thousand miles in a metal tube at a height of 8 miles whilst listening to the Mozart clarinet concerto they would have been in danger of being committed. My memories of Auckland and its environs are a trifle hazy. I recall that the ‘Greenpeace’ vessel, Rainbow Warrior, badly damaged from an encounter near some atomic test area in the South Pacific, was lying alongside somewhere in the harbour. One of our number got chatting to a remnant of the crew and came away with a trophy (I can’t remember what but not the ship’s log). We, of course visited Rotorua, Lake Taupo, and the area close to the cataclysmic earthquake/volcano of a hundred years or so ago.

    John F.
    Apologies that I didn't sign my last message (re slappers). Also the above message didn't seem to get through so I am sending again.