Nice ferry crossing to Wellington on North Island. A very windy and busy city. Spent sometime in the Te Papa museum. Excellent sections on Mauri history and earthquakes. Then took a ride on a Victorian cable car and walked back down through the botanical gardens. Overnight at another excellent campsite. Decided to move on next day putting us slightly ahead of schedule. Called in at Levin to meet my step brother John and wife Pat. Spent a couple of hours catching up on family news, first time we have met in 31 years. Moved away from schedule and stayed at Wanganui on the west coast. What a great find. A lovely town on the river near the coast. One of the early Victorian trading ports but now left as a charming and sleepy looking area with a wonderful facade of old shops and river frontage. The NZ Masters Games were being held here, we watched the 5 k run and next morning the bike time trial was underway in pouring rain. We climbed to the top of a tall tower which is a memorial to the 513 men from this town who died fighting in WW 1. A sobering thought that so many died fighting for a country on the the other side of the world. The next morning despite a night of heavy rain just like a UK summer, we went for a river trip on the only working steam driven paddle steamer in the Southern Hemisphere. A great experience and we were even allowed to shovel coal into the furnace.Travelled on to Ohakune, which is the base for skiing in the Tangariro National Park during the winter. However on arrival we were told that it might snow tomorrow when we do the famous Alpine Crossing trek so we have just been out to buy some hats and gloves! We are now back on schedule, next report will hopefully include a successful trek across this actively volcanic area. We hope the earth doesn’t move for us!!

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