A quick update for family to let you know how Aunty Margaret is getting on! We picked her up from the airport in Auckland last Wednesday – took the opportunity to treat Aonghas to a Birthday trip up the Sky Tower and pizza in “Little Italy”. Poor weather on Thursday and Friday confined us to relaxing at home, spending Aonghas’ birthday money that was burning a hole in his pocket – more Star Wars lego!, and going out for a drive to see the countryside from the dry and warmth of a car. Friday was brighter so we headed to Hamilton Zoo. A long day and more walking than Margaret was used to, but she seemed to have had a good time talking to the parrots and seeing the baby rhino. We spent a long time watching the Lemurs and then the Samain monkeys – they were very noisy! Aonghas and I rushed back to see them when we heard them screeching – they are really weird as their throats swell up when they shout and you can hear a sort of echo from it. We went to see the African hunting dogs being fed – quite brutal but they have beautiful markings. After that we headed over to see the giraffes being fed – quite a hike but just seeing their huge blue tongues snaking through the wire fence to grab the carrots and silver beet they were being offered. (Did you know that that giraffes have blue tongues to protect them from the sun as they are often out of their mouths grazing?) We had to go and see the rhinos as they are Aonghas’ favourite – the babies from last year are now quite big but a new baby was out and about racing up and down the paddock before returning to Mum for some food!
On Sunday the day dawned bright and sunny – a clear blue sky beckoned and we set off to Taupo to Orakei Korako. We think this is one of the best examples of a Geothermal park but it has certainly changed since we were last there. The geothermal area itself is no different but the entry area has been bulldozed, the streams that feed the lake have been canalised underground and the camping area is no more – it looks like they are developing a more upmarket resort – and the price for the 2 minute crossing over the lake and entrance to the geothermal area has increased. Nevertheless, the good weather made for a good walk around and it is definitely an amazing place. We were fascinated by the ducks with hter ducklings paddling round in the hot water but apparently they hang around in the hot water to stay away from the Shags who can’t cope with the heat!
We ended the day with a quick look at Huka Falls and then tea in Taupo before heading home tired and ready for a rest!
Margaret had a quiet day on Monday until I dragged her off to Hamilton Gardens to look around the Paradise Collection. They really are lovely and always look different depending on the time of year.
She is now gallivanting around Wellington and the Wairarapa with Nigel’s Aunty Chris and Uncle Brian. She went off on the plane from Hamilton today and will be back on Thursday. They have a full couple of days planned for her but we’ll tell you all about that when she gets back!
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