The distances in New Zealand are generally short, but travelling is on the whole quite slow. On North Island there is much more traffic (over three million out of the 4.3m people in NZ live on North Island), a few more heavy trucks but nothing on the scale of the UK, but very very few dual carriageways. The landscape is undulating, and roads tend to follow the contours. Almost the entire population that isn’t driving seems to be working in road construction, male and female alike. The speed limit frequently drops to 30km/hr. BUT what scenery there is to be seen: (all following taken whilst on the move)Two different but adjacent mountains/volcanoes on the roadside in the Tongariro National Park. Lake Taupo, the caldera of the Taupo Volcano, the second largest freshwater lake in Oceania, drained by New Zealand’s longest river the Waikato, and said to house monster trout On our way we passed through towns with fascinating claims to fame: Bulls. It makes its name by having puns wherever possible: police station = Const-a-bull; pharmacy = dispens -a- bull. I could go on, but won’t. We didn’t stop. Then, what better place to visit than Taihape, gumboot capital of the world? This aspect promotes fun, enjoyment and a serious sporting activity (annual gumboot throwing day) according to Wikipedia. We moved on……To a town famed for its corrugated iron. How exciting could that be? More exciting than puns and wellies. Look at the visitor centre: And the merino shop:Really quite endearing. The cafe had a sense of humour too:Yes. The Bugger Cafe, Tirau. There were many many examples of ‘oh, bugger’ moments, and other examples of folks using the phrase. I include an edited selection: The DoE sure speaks sense sometimes! And that’s more or less our day, many hours of travelling, two editions of the Archers Omnibus caught up on (reached September 10 now), sat in huge traffic jam in Auckland and ate excellent Italian food at a Proper Restaurant. There’s posh for you. Tantrums: why bother?Endangered: not been any of those anywhere near Auckland for quite some time I’d say. It’s very busy here. NZ kindness:Sign on a motorway service station.

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