Posted by: glenswatman | April 11, 2007

200303 Australia-Vic New Zealand

SATURDAY 1 MARCH 2003 Intermittent heavy rain storms throughout the day. Bev’s friend Margaret and her brother Pete with his wife Margaret arrive for a BBQ lunch.Between showers we set about cleaning out Billy ready to hand over to the Canadian couple Tom & Nadia on MOnday.  By the time Margaret leaves in the evening it is quite chilly and Bev and Norm suggest we have a sauna.  It’s just wonderful relaxing in the warm cabin but "The Bill" is on at 8.30pm so we shower and return to the lounge. Norm is a bit late following us and whwn he does appear he has a cut and a bump on his head. He went outside to cool down but when he came in he felt dizzy and sat down but before he could do anything else he had blacked out and fallen on the floor.  It’s quite a bad cut and will need stitches so Bev takes him off to the hospital.  They return a few hours later having had Norm thoroughly checked over.  The verdict – drinking champagne all afternoon then going in the sauna is not a good thing to do!
WALLINGTON 9
SUNDAY 2 MARCH  Another dull day so we potter around and watch films on the DVD.  Take Bev & Norm out for a meal in the evening at Smorgy’s on Cunningham Pier.  For $15.95 (GBP6.40) you get a buffet meal and a seat looking out over the ocean which makes it feel like you are on a ship.  The buffet is extensive and unusual in that it’s served from small shops. There’s a bakery with muffins, one with fresh donuts and pancakes, a pizza bar and lots of others.  We feast until we can eat no more.  Steve gets dropped off at Brads to watch the football as he has satellite TV.  He’s sleeping ovenight so I return with Bev & Norm.
WALLINGTON 10
MONDAY 3 MARCH   Pick Steve up en route to the airport.  Tom & Nadia’s flight from Hong Kong is on time and by 12.30pm we are heading back to Geelong with them, their large suitcase, large trolley bag plus 4 other pieces of luggage and tennis racquets.  We are a bit shocked to find that since agreeing to swap and borrow their 28′ motorhome in California next April, they have changed it and now have a 38′ 5th wheel and truck.  They are very enthusiastic about this luxurious trailer but we aren’t.  It is designed to be towed along motorways from A to B then used as a base whilst you go off in the truck.  They seem to think we will be happy parked up for 2 months on a lovely campsite in Santa Barbara which is only US$30 (GBP21) night!  However we like to tour continuously and free camp in small park areas.  Guess we will have to do some re thinking on that one.  I cook a pasta meal for us all in the evening then Tom & Nadia go out for their first night in Billy.
WALLINGTON 11
TUESDAY 4 MARCH  Tom & Nadia have been rather cold in the night but as they shrugged off any help from us they were not to know that we have 2 duvets which they could have had on top of them.  Despite us travelling 1 1/2 hours from the airport and pointing out Melbourne en route, Nadia has this idea that we are only 10 minutes from Melbourne city centre and that they can go in for a walk around then return!  She’s pretty upset when the distance is explained and also upset as she has brought a hairdryer with a Spoanish plug which doesn’t fit.  For some reason they are desperate to get into Melbourne so after sitting with them for a brief drive around they head off with the bed half unmade and bags piled on top with stuff spilling out of half of them.  Their plan is to spend most of their time in Melbourne followed by Sydney and Brisbane and to free camp down the side streets.  Don’t think that’s going to work somehow.  Bev & Norm are out in the evneing so we wallow in the spa and relax.
WALLINGTON 12
WEDNESDAY 5 MARCH  A much nicer and warmer morning.  It doesn’t take long for us to pack after which we sit out in the sun.  At lunch time we head into Geelong and pick up fish and chips at Gilligans $6 (GBP2.40) then sit on the waterfront washing them down with a bottle of wine.  Bev & Norm drive us over to the airport for our 1840hrs flight to Wellington.  Can’t believe how quickly our 6 months in Australia has flown.  We’ve travelled over 9000 km through 3 different states. Unfortunately during that time we have seen the price of unleaded petrol go from 76.5c to over $1 litre whilst the pound has dropped from $2.88 to around $2.60.  Leave on time and after a 3 1/2 hour flight and a 2 hour forward time change (now 13hours ahead of GMT) we land in NEW ZEALAND at 10 minutes to midnight.  The New Zealand dollar is also very strong and where we previously got over $3 to the pound we now get around $2.80.  Barbara & Malcolm are waiting to meet us.  They are getting married on Saturday and we will be staying with them until then.  We chat for a short while before crashing out on the airbed in the spare room.
WELLINGTON – ISLAND BAY
THURSDAY 6 MARCH  Malcolm leaves early to collect someone from the airport and take them to their accommodation.  He returns to pick up Barbara and drops Steve and me in the centre of Wellington.  At the Te Papa museum we see the special "Lord of the Rings" display NZ$12 (GBP4.40).  It’s excellent and we while away a good couple of hours then checkout some other parts of the museum.  Walk around Oriental Bay to the Fisherman’s Table where we are meeting up for a meal.  It’s a big family occasion with members of the Bishop (Malcolm’s family) and Knight (Barbara’s family) clans, some of whom we’ve met before.  The $13.95 (GPB5.10) meals are good and include visits to a varied salad bar.  The restaurant is semi ciruclar with superb views over the bay.  We leave just in time to go to the airport to pick up Malcolms best man Rob who is flying down from Auckland and arrives at 8pm.  Return to Mal & Barbara’s house where her sister Andrea & boyfriend Adrian are waiting for us.  The kiwi’s are known for heavy drinking and Steve does his best to keep up with the youngsters.  Several drinks and many hours later we all bunk down for the night.
WELLINGTON 2
FRIDAY 7 MARCH Mid morning a gang of men arrive.  Malcolm has arranged for them all to go off playing golf for the day and Steve is invited.  Bridesmaid Angela arrives and there’s lots of sorting out before the girls leave mid afternoon.  I’m left behind to hold the fort and enjoy time out.  Early evening a face appears at the window, it’s Adam who has flown down from Auckland and we get aquainted whilst waiting for the others to return.  Malcolm appears along with Steve, Rob, Dave, Stuart and a parcel of fish and chips.  They’ve obviously all had a great time and supped plenty of beer judging by the language and
jokes which fill the air.  Dave & Stuart head off home leaving me to bunk down with 4 hunky blokes!  Steve tells me they played "Ambrose" style golf with them splitting into two groups and 4 then teams of 2.  The idea is that the partners both tee off but then the one who has played the worst shot moves his ball to the same place as the one who played the best shot
and the game continues in that way.
WELLINGTON 3
SATURDAY 8 MARCH  Surprisingly we are all up at a reasonable time.  Rob heads to the airport to collect his wife Emma and 6 month old Jack.  Steve and I head off in Malcolms car as we are checked in the motel at the Harcourt Caravan Park $75 (GBP27) for tonight.  We have a double and single bed, bathroom, lounge area, dining table and kitchen facilities.  Shame we are not going to be staying long enoughto use them all!  After a short nap we get dressed up for the wedding.  It’s being held at the Kaitoke country gardens where "Rivendell" from "Lord of the Rings" was filmed. We walk down through attractive gardens to a spot by the lake.  Barbara arrives by car preceded by the bridesmaids.  Malcolms Uncle Murray is a marriage celebrant and conducts the weddings.  Two friends read appropriate verses and it’s all very romantic.Another friends who is a priest performs a marriage blessing before they sign the register.  After some photos have been taken the main bridal party head off to another location for more shots.  We mingle with other guests and find most of Malcolm and Barbara’s friend well travelled and interesting.  Around 5pm we had up to the main building to be served with nibbles. 6pm we take our seats in the main dining room.  Top table consists of the bridge and groom, best man, groomsman and the two bridesmaids.  The parents are seated at tables with family and we are with relatives.  Entree’s (starters) are served to the table then the main course is in buffet style.  The speeches begin and we are surprised to find that the groomsman is the one to read the E-mails (telegrams in the olden days) and that the grooms father makes a speech.  Another thing we find different but excellent is that someone has been appointed as MC for the day and he makes sure everyone knows what’s going on and where they should be. Sweets are served as a buffet followed by cake cutting then the disco. It’s a long time since we’ve had a chance to dance to our kind of music so I do my best to tire Steve out.  Beer, wine and soft drinks are included and in true Kiwi style they drink the bar dry of full strength draught beer.  It all winds up around 1am when I drive us back to the motel.
TE MARAU – HARCOURT MOTEL
SUNDAY 9 MARCH  The only complaint we have about the motel room is that we have to vacate it by 10am.  Return to Malcolm & Barbaras where everyone meets up for an open house day.  The presents are opened and displayed and food and drink are served.  By evening there’s just us and Mal and Barbara left and had they not been living together for may years we would really have felt like gooseberries.
WELLINGTON – ISLAND BAY
MONDAY 10 MARCH A misty morning so Malcolm phones the airport to confirm that it is open before dropping us off at 11.30am. We notice ultra modern snack machines from which you can pruchase goods using your mobile phone SMS text messaging.  Check in and head to the departure gate but that’s as far as we get.  Our flight is circling above us but because of the bad weather it can’t land and returns to Auckland.  An announcement goes out that all flights have been cancelled.  They suggest Quantas passengers go home (yeah sure) and contact their travel agent to re-book for tomorrow.  Air New Zealand make arrangements to
bus people to another airport to catch their flights but the Quantas planes are too big to land there and yes you’ve guess it, we’re with Quantas.  We start to make phone calls at which point Malcolm & Barbara arrive for their flight.  Barbara doesn’t know where they are going for their honeymoon but Malcolm has told us they are flying up to Auckland today then tomorrow morning on to to Fiji. They are also with Quantas so won’t be able to fly up to Auckland today.  Check out all the other options including train (none until tonight) hire car (all gone) and buses.  With no other choice Malcolm makes the decision to drive the 700km up to Auckland and offers us a lift.  At 2.30pm we set off on honeymoon with Malcolm & Barbara and just can’t stop laughing.  We share the driving and once out of Wellington the weather improves and it’s a very scenic journey.  Arrive in Taupo and stop at McDonalds to grab some food.  By the time we leave near 8pm it’s dark and raining so the last part of the journey is a real drag.  Using Malcolms mobile phone we have arranged to go to Rob (his best man) and Emma’s house.  We arrive just after 10.30pm and whilst we settle into the spare room for the night Rob takes Mal & Barbara to their motel.  Hear on the news that WEllington airport is still closed.
AUCKLAND – MANUREWA
TUESDAY 11 MARCH  Wake up to heavy rain and feel like we are in a tropical rain forest as Rob & Emma’s house is built into the forest.  It’s an amazing house, very large with lots of outdoor terraces leading down to a stream in the woods.  Only 3 trees were cut down when the house was built the rest were incorporated into the design. Unfortunately they have just had to sell it because with baby Jack aged 6 months it would be just too dangerous.  After making a few phone calls Ron comes over from Devonport to pick us up, having been stuck in traffic james due to flooding in Auckland!  He arrives with Welsh Mick.  We fist met Ron & Jenny and Mick & Shirley whilst free camping in motorhomes at Vera Playa, Spain during December 1998 and have kept in touch since.  When we get back to Devonport we meet up with Jenny & Shirley also. Mick & Shirley are here for 3 months and will borrow Rons motorhome after we return it in a month and then go on to Australia to borrow Billy for 3 months.  Needless to say we have heaps to talk about. Check out the motorhome they are lending us and it is just perfect.  Bit smaller than Charlie but heaps bigger than Billy and very nicely laid out.  It feels like coming home as we move our stuff into it and it’s great to receive a van that’s really clean. 
AUCKLAND – DEVONPORT
WEDNESDAY 12 MARCH Wake to glorious sunshine and all sit out on the terrace eating reakfast.  We have a superb view right on the seafront looking over to Rangitoto Island.  Ron drives us into Auckland for Mick & shirley to change their Melbrourne flights to Brisbane and for us to visit the travel doctor.  $278 (GBP100) pays for our consultation ($75), malaria tablets $143 and a booster rabies shot for me ($60).  With the visa for Vietnam costing Aus$70 (GBP28) each we’re glad we are going to be staying for 4 weeks to make it worthwhile.  Return for lunch on the terrace then a swim at high tide.  Afternoon shopping trip to "New World" to stock up with basic groceries.  Evening boules played on the gravel between the bottom of the garden and the beach – what a location.
AUCKLAND – DEVONPORT 2
THURSDAY 13 MARCH  Another nice day as we set off on our travels.  It’s a lovely feeling to be back on tour again and we head south from Auckland then join highway 2 east to Waihi.  From here it’s a 25km winding, climbing road to get to Whangamata to meet our friends Stronach & Judy.  Reckon this tour in New Zealand is largely going to be made up of visits to friends and that’s very nice for us.  We’re made to feel most welcome and snatch a sunbathing session before tea.  Round off the day with a good soak in the spa by which time we are both ready for bed.  It’s 6 weeks since we were parked up on our own and the hectic pace is starting to catch up with us, with more to come!
WHANGAMATA
FRIDAY 14 MARCH  We visited Katikati naturist club last time but had continuous rain so it’s lovely to now see it in sunshine.  $7 p.p.p.day or $11 p.p.p.n. (GBP4) if camping.  The Nudvanners are holding their 10th birthday rally here this weekend $10 p.p. (GBP3.60) and we have been invited.  Fit in a few hours lazing around before they begin to arrive with Ray &
Lyn being the first.  By 4pm Steve is helping to erect the marquee and quite a number of vans have shown up.  We remember Des & Margaret, Neil & Pauline and Peter and meet his new girlfriends Sheryl plus a number of other people whilst joining together for a pot luck supper.  We are presented with name tags with a number on the back for prize draws and dangling on a coloured sting which indicates which team we will be in for games.  Wind up the day in one of the two spa pools.
KATIKATI NATURIST CLUB
SATURDAY 15 MARCH  A cloudy but fortunatley dry day.  I now have to accept the climate in New Zealand is bad for my asthma and sinus problems as they have not been right since we arrived.  At least this time I have medication to take so shouldn’t end up in hospital as I did on our previous visit.  The rally starts with a coffee morning then just before lunch a re-cyclable wearable art competition which has some very funny entrants.  In the afternoon we split into our teams for games which is much like school sports day.  Steve and Brian in the red team win the egg throwing competition with Steve finally getting caught out in a spectacular dive which leaves him covered in egg.  Amazingly for the green team I win the shot putt (with a ping pong ball) and come third in the javelin (with a coctail stick).  Once again we wind up in the hot tubs as it’s getting quite chilly and we are reluctant to get dressed.  The 10th Birthday party kicks off with a buffet followed by some speeches.  The cake is piped in by Brian on the bagpipes. The gate prize is drawn and Margaret gets first prize and I get second which is a free 5 night stay at Katikati valued at $110 (GBP40) but we put ours back as we are really gatecrashers.  Our friend Shirley wins it which is nice as we are staying over at their place tomorrow night.  Pete asks everyone in the room to stand up in turn to introduce and say a bit about themselves.  Feel a bit like someone at an alcoholic anonymouos group admitting to not wearing clothes for "x" number of years and agreeing not to in the future whenever possible!  Realise afterwards that in reality we were all born naturists but just got side-tracked for a few years.  Everyone admists what a great lifestyle it is and what friendly people the Nudvanners are and we agree wholeheartedy.
KATIKATI 2
SUNDAY 16 MARCH  Clocks go back 1 hour for winter time so we are now 12 hours ahead of GMT which is easy.  After rain throughout the night it’s nice to wake to sunshine.  The raffle is drawn and one of our tickets comes third.  We pick a denim shirt.  A treasure hunt follows with teams having to collect several items from a list, points being awarded for "thinking out of the square" and coming up with original solutions.  For letter we produce a "French letter", for something long and hard – a chess game but we think the most ingenious is for the 3 coins IN a fountain – 3 coins in the bottom of a squirty water bottle!  There’s plenty of food left from last night for us to use at lunch before lazing the afternoon away.  Follow Barbara & Warren back to Ian & Shirleys place.  News on TV of a P&O cruise liner which has sprung a leak and returned to Auckland.  We saw it sail out past Ron & Jennys last week. Unfortunately it’s the one which Ian & Shirley were due to go on next Sunday.  Rugby is on the telly and in true kiwi style they are all fans but tell me lyn & Ray are not so off I go to visit them.  Spend a couple of hours chatting about their trip around Australia and their rock collection.
OMOKOROA
MONDAY 17 MARCH  After returning to Ray & Lyns for Steve to have a chat we set off heading through Tauranga then out to Papamoa where a section of the beach is used by naturists.  Manage a couple of hours sunbathing before the clouds gather.  Last time we visited Mike & Marion they had just had their house transplanted to the back of the block.  We arrive to see a large 3 storey building in it’s place.  It has been built with garages at ground level for cars, boats or motorhomes.  On the next floor is a 3 bedroom apartment and above it a 1 bedroom flat.  By building this way they can take in the sea views which should increase the prices as it’s on the market.  Last year they shipped their motorhome over to Australia and manged to get almost right around the country in 4 1/2 months but now want to go back for longer. They also got the fossiking bug and haul out their box of rocks to show us.  Marion cooks a lovely dinner and we chat the night away.
PAPAMOA
TUESDAY 18 MARCH After a visit to the nearby shopping mall we call into the dentist where Marion has made us an appointment.  We both have X-rays, check ups and clean and polish and the total bill is $155 (GBP57).  The world still awaits news of the potential Bush v Iraq war and lots of people are talking about it and glad they live out here.  Spend a bit of time on the beach.  Steve goes down to the water front in search of shellfish. He feels something like a stone underfoot but bends down to pick it up and finds a big crab clinging onto his fingers. It won’t let go so he jumps around and tries to get it off then ends up submerging it in water at which point it climbs off.  He comes back wanting first aid and feeling pretty mad at having caught a crab then having to let it go.  Head along the coast to Whakatane to visit Vernon & Pam.  We’re surprised to notice that a large proportion of the school kids in the area are Maori and in bare feet. Vernon and Pam make us very welcome and we are offered use of the Internet and a meal.  Latest news which may affect us is of the SARS epidemic. Thank goodness the World explorer 29,000 mile pass which we are using allows for change of date or destination of our onward flights.  Tuesday is cheap day at the cinema in New Zealand and tickets are all at the child price of $6.50 (GBP2.45) instead
of the normal adult rate of $11.50 (GBP4.15).  We go to see Whale Rider which is a New Zealand film about the Maori and was filmed around East Cape where we are heading tomorrow.  Lovely scenery and an interesting and educational story.
WHAKATANE
WEDNESDAY 19 MARCH  Follow the coast road East and stop at the Harbour Rod in Ohiwa Bay.  Steve scrambles out over the dunes and returns with 33 large green lipped mussels.  At Opotiki we notice the Maori influence ith lots of carved poles.  We’re entering the East Cape which is predominantly Maori country and also very remote.  It’s a nice run up the west coast with lovely scenery.  The beaches are strewn with logs and the sand is like a dark volcanic gravel.  Free camp at Torere where after sitting out sunbathing Steve feasts on all 33 mussels, 2 of which have bonus mini crabs inside.
TORERE
THURSDAY 20 MARCH  It’s a lovely day and we’re in a nice spot so stay put.  We have fine views of the volcanic White Island opposite puffing away.  We’ve seen strange small pontoon things out at sea and when Steve returns from his walk he’s found out what they are.  Called Kon-Tiki rafts they have a line with lots of fishing hooks danling underneath.  Sails are raised and a barley sugar sweet tied on the string which holds them up.  The raft heads out to sea with a line back to shore.  The string from the sails dangles in the water and it takes 30 minutes for the sweet to dissolve if it’s unwrapped or 45 minutes in the wrapper at which point the sails drop and the raftg can be brought back in along with the catch.  Lots of people come and go and we are joined by fishermen who plan to fish throughout the night.
TORERE 2
FRIDAY 21 MARCH We’re up early and find the fishermen are still at it but haven’t caught much.  Head up the coast along twisting roads up and down over the peninsulas but with fantastic views.  Most villages have a marae with nice carvings and a small church.  In Raukokore the church is right on the end of the peninsula and looks really pretty. Make the drive out to Lottin Point but unless you are a fisherman it doesn’t have much appeal.  Hit a misty rainy spell as we cross the top of the cape then immediately notice the beaches change to golden sand.  The Anglican church in Tikitiki is worth the stop to admire the wonderful Maori carvings inside.  Just south of Tokomaru Bay we free camp on Ongaruru Beach, another nice spot.
TOKOMARU BAY – ONGARURU BEACH
SATURDAY 22 MARCH  Continue down the east coast through Tologa Bay then out to Loisel’s Beach at Waihau Bay.  It’s a gravel road in so we are surprised to see lots of very nice large beach baches at the end of it. Arrive at a grassy camping area behind the beach which is perfect for sunbathing.  Hear that America have opened war on Iraq and there have already been British and American casualties.  Walk south along the beach a the afternoon low tide and explore amongst the rocky pools.  Early evening a van drives past us and soon gets bogged in the sand.  We’ve just showered and feel disinclined to offer help but after half an hour watching them struggle we go out.  It’s a couple of Maori lads who’d come down to canoe.  I drive their van whilst it’s pushed out by which time they have to leave.
WAIHAU BAY – LOISEL’S BEACH
SUNDAY 23 MARCH  Another really nice hot sunny day.  Walk north along the beach and spot lots of dead sheep. Spend the rest of the day sunbathing naturally.
LOISEL’S BEACH 2
MONDAY 24 MARCH  It’s too nice to move on although the sand flies are becoming a bit of a pest.  The decision is made to leave tomorrow as we are getting low on water. Can’t believe it when a car pulls up beside us in the evneing and announces that they are Jehovah’s Witnesses!  After a brief chat they leave us having first issued us with "The Watchtower" and "Awake".  Seems there is no escape.
LOISEL’S BEACH 3
TUESDAY 25 MARCH  Follow the last stretch of coast past Whangara Beach where "Whale Rider" was filmed.  Gisborne is the most easterly city in the world.  It’s also the first place where Captain Cook landed in New Zealand, the first city to see the sun each day and for us the first place we have to pay for car parking and toilets. It’s a pleasant city with lots of character buildings and an unusual Captain Cook memorial.  Smash Palace is a weird diner come bar with car wrecks planted in the garden and the inside decorated like a junk shop.  They don’t open properly until 3pm so we settle on the $9.90 (GBP3.50) Pizza Hut all you can eat pizza, pasta, salad and desert lunch.  Cut inland across the bottom of the east cape and through the Waioeka Gorge.  It’s very attractive with the steep sides covered in dense greenery predomiately giant ferns.  Find a good free camping spot at Manganuku Bridge by the river.
WAIOEKA GORGE – MANGANUKU GORGE
WEDNESDAY 26 MARCH Continue through the gorge stopping to look at the historic Tauranga Bridge.  Beside the track are blackberry bushes and we fill a dish with them.  Using the Internet at the library in Opotoki I’m surprised to hear someone calling "Glen".  It’s Warren & Barbara from the Nudvanners who live in town and invite us back to stay overnight.  Steve’s made up when he finds they have TV showing British football with a live match scheduled for tomorrow lunch time.
OPOTIKI
THURSDAY 27 MARCH  I see to the washing and Internet whilst Steve cleans the motorhome, probably to ease his guilt at sitting around watching so much football.  It’s still drizzling as we set off to Kawarau.  This is one of the newest towns in New Zealand and has a paper mill which produces the bulk of paper used in the country.  Property here is incredibly cheap with 3 bedroom detached brick bungalows at under $50,000 (GBP18,000) and 1 bedroom units for $8000 (GBP3,000).  60% of the population are Maori, there’s a good shopping centre and everyone seems friendly.  It’s also a thermal area with a free swimming pool which is cooled to 28C in summer and 38C in winter.  Find plenty of free motorhome parking on the reserve by the river.
KAWERAU
FRIDAY 28 MARCH  Another rainy day which increases the thermal aroma in the air. Apparently the cabbage smell yesterday was from the wood mill.  Head towards Rotorua through the forest and stop to visit Hells Gate $12 (GBP4.40) the most active thermal area in New Zealand.  It’s very nice but doesn’t seem to have anything different to what we previously saw at the
other thermal areas around Rotorua.  Drive up to Lake Tarawera passing the blue and green lakes en route.  It’s a lovely spot even in the rain but we do notice that swimming is banned due to the algae in the water. We’re having trouble locating the campground and eventually find out that we are at the wrong end of the lake.  We should have gone in by dirt track from Kawerau but as it’s such a filthy day we don’t feel like going all the way back so give up.On the road from Rotorua to Cambridge we see an amazing landscape full of hills like Telletubbies homes or maybe Hobbit holes as we’re close to Matamata where Hobitton was filmed.  Continue to Hamilton to visit John & Pauline and their girls Emma who is now 12 and Laura 7.  The girls remember us well and still enjoy exploring inside the motorhome.  Spend an enjoyable evening chatting over dinner and for a few hours more.
HAMILTON
SATURDAY 29 MARCH  The university is having an auction as they have re-located their catering college.  John need some stuff so we go along for the experience.  Unfortunately the things he wants fetch too high a price.  Spend the afternoon in Hamilton gardens where we see 4 weddings.  2 are in the conservatory area and the others in the themed gardens, Italian Renaissance and Japanese.  I cook up a curry in the evening which John says reminds him of the ones his Mum used to make with sultanas and apples in.
HAMILTON 2
SUNDAY 30 MARCH  England have put their clocks forward for summertime (we’re now 11 hours ahead) which seems a bit unfair on Mothers Day.  Drive back up to Devonport noticing lots of traffic on the road even though it’s lunch time on a Sunday.  There’s a reserve next to Jenny & Rons and they are supposed to be holding a wedding there but the rain forces them away.  Mick & Ron have been out sea fishing and brought back a good catch of snapper which goes down well for tea.
DEVONPORT
MONDAY 31 MARCH  Moving house day as Mick & Shirley move into the motorhome and we take over their room in the house.  Spend a lot of time on the Internet planning our alternatives in view of SARS in Asia.  We are joined by neighbour John and friend Mike for the evening meal with Ron smoking more of the fish for a yummy starter.
DEVONPORT 2      
 
 
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