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Tony''s Tracks’s Travel Diary

Monday, 04 May 2009

Location: Taupo, New Zealand

MapI am presently sitting in a nice warm motel room overlooking Australasias biggest lake--Lake Taupo.It is an incredibly beautiful setting----but I get ahead of myself. It's been 2 weeks since I last wrote ---for those of you who are following this it is very difficult to keep this writing up and running . 'Specially as I have been driving daily and collapsing into motels in the evening. By the way there is a payoff story to the Viet Nam Hero and the Medical Dame.
I think I was in Aerlie Beach when I last wrote. Queensland is lovely, and Aerlie particularly so. I went out on the reef twice in two different boats. The first one was enormous..a catamaraan that took us out to a large pontoon moored permanently at knuckle Reef. We moved onto the pontoon and from there we snorkled --some dived', other just went on the semi submersible sub or watched from the under water observation room on the pontoon. I just snorkled as I haven't dived for over 30 years. The snorkling was lovely...I've wanted to swim on the reef since I first heard about it some 60 years ago. There were oodles of fish of all colors and giant clams and turtles and coral of all sorts...it was a marvellous day. Two days later I went out on another trip that included about 2 hours on Whitehaven beach snow white beach that goeas for miles and no people...gives you a sort of desert island feeling and then we went to another location and snorkled for a couple of hours. The snorkling was not as interesting as the first trip but I'm glad I did it, The next day I started back to Brisbane to meet a friend of Peters. It was uneventful but enjoyable. The countryside is nice and the towns as pretty as anew penny. I stopped at a motel in a place called Caboolture about 35 minutes from Brisbane. I was sitting outside my door having a smoke when the man who was staying next door ambled over to chat. And he was telling me about his life in Oz and how great it was and he' just brought his wife in from their home to see the doctor and so on when I suddenly felt compeeled to recount my meeting with the Viet Nam hero, come millionaire etc etc. By this time the mans wife had joined him and as I was saying "This guy was professing to be a millionaire but he was wearing brown jeans that had a shine on them so that they looked like they needed a good wash" The man looked at his wife and they both smiled and he turned and said knowingly "It sounds like you were talking to Colin" "Who", says I. "Colin",says he"Colin Ubergang" Who's Colin Ubergang? I ask. He's one of the richest men in Australia. Does he own his own plane I ask----Yep A Hurricane - which ties in with him telling me he had to fly alone in his plane....and on and on, Curious and curiouser, I'm tired. Goodnight.
May the Fifth.
Still in Taupo. Leaving tomorrow for Rotorura and then north to well, the north, I've forgotten the name but will tell about it when I get there. NZ has been pretty uneventful, I haven't struck up any long conversations with any Kiwis, That's not to say they are unfriendly--far from it --they are the most friendly obliging people I have ever met. The first place I stayed at--a motel in a village called Mocau--I asked if there was any place I could do my laundry. I'll do it for you said the lady--I have some of my own to do --I'll put it through the drier for you as well. Sure enough when I opened the door next morning there it was all washed and folded and packed in a carrier bag. I went around to her door to thank her and ask how much I owed her. You don't owe me anything she said -I was doing laundry anyway. When I persisted saying I must owe her something she refused again looking embarrased so I let it go. I went from there to a cafe/restaurant just below on the hillside. I was in the middle of my breakfast when one of the staff came to my table and asked if I had stayed at the motel the previous night . When I replied that I had she said that the lady had just phoned to tell me I had left a sock behind. I thanked her and when I finished breakfast I left at least a 10% tip behind. I was standing out side having a fag and reading some notices when the waitress came out tapped me on the shoulder and said you left this on your table and held out her hand and proffered the tip that I had left. I left that for you I said --was it not enough? She smiled and said that they didn't work for tips but because they liked working and that I should keep it. I was amazed--there was no sarcasm or anything untoward--she just smiled and popped back into the restaurant. And then I went back to the motel and collected the errant sock. And so it continued --the Kiwis are very pleasant people.The next day was all driving-along coastal roads --so lots of Ks but not much over all distance, I ended up that night in a bit of a dump motel..cheap but not too cheerful and stsrted thinking about my progress. I got out the map and figured that if I wanted to cover South Island I wwould end up spending all my time drivfing and racing to get back to catch my plane and not really seeing anything. Sooo I scratched the idea of going to South Island and would stop over at interesting looking places and make my way back up north. One week for North Island and one for South Island would be rather insulting NZ. As it is I beginning to realize I could happily spend a month or more exploring the nooks and crannies of North Island. Well that's about it, I'll let you go now but I'll try to send off another missif before leaving this lovely land.