[This post was originally written on July 30. Unforeseen circumstances meant that this blog has got off to s slow start!]
We certainly have got around a bit over the last month or so. First Kaiaua, and then, a week later, Taupo. This is mostly because of my family being in the country for a bit, and we have made the most of seeing them before they head back to Indonesia in mid-August.
So, Taupo. We were meant to spend a whole week here, but ended up only lasting a few days for various reasons (my sister had a dentist appointment, I had work to do, etc.).
Lake Taupo is New Zealand largest lake and a popular year round tourist spot. In summer there are water sports, and in winter it is reasonably close to the Whakapapa ski field. We didn’t actually lodge in Taupo itself, but instead stayed in a “family unit” on a campground.
We were lucky enough to have perfectly clear skies for the majority of our stay. The wind whipping off the mountains was icy but walks down by the lake were still pleasant. My dad and brother went fishing for trout but unfortunately didn’t catch anything.
The day before we left we drove through Tongariro National Park and up to the Whakapapa ski field on Mt Ruapehu. Snow is still a novelty for our family so we didn’t need to buy a ski pass to have fun.
New Zealand as a whole has always seemed to be an earthy-coloured country to me. Plenty of greens, browns and greys.
But that day in the park and on the mountain woke me up to the more vibrant colours of this country. Teal lakes, raw red as a harrier hovers above the traffic so that he can snatch a bite of roadkill. A burst of orange on a ski slope as a Buddhist monk stoops to make a snowball.
Since moving to New Zealand to study in 2008 it has taken me a long time to feel any attachment to this land of my birth. It has always been a name on my passport, some letters that I fill in on immigration forms. But, days like that one on the mountain may be slowly changing that for me.