But Wait ... there's more!

Christine's lovely brother, Bruce, has loaned me both laptop and internet connection so here's the post I wrote earlier and stored on the usb stick.

There's talk of a boat and Cathedral Cave and all kinds of things so I'll post and run ...

And so we flew … north from Dunedin to Christchurch, then up again heading for Auckland, city of just over 1.5 million people.  

This 5-week journey home has been a journey into all kinds of intensity.  There has been the overwhelming reality of returning home after 8 years away and then this avalanche of incredible experiences gifted by family and friends. 

It has been a journey I was warned not to expect too much of but it became a journey that was much more than I could have dreamed of or imagined. 

And it hasn't stopped … that intensity.   You see, this time Auckland was partially about finally meeting my half-brother, Rob, and his family too.   A lovely man that I'm so happy to welcome into our family after all these years.  

Then, after lunch with Rob, the same friends who had eased us back into New Zealand all those weeks ago arrived  to gently slow us down and get us ready to leave this country I love so well.  We are spending 3 nights at their summer place and it is surely a little bit paradise here at beach-side village on the Coromandel Peninsula

You can't begin to imagine how much we've been fitting in here because we are without internet and I haven't been able to write but I have taken an early morning walk alone with my camera, visited Hot Water Beach – where you dig your own hole in the sand and relax into thermal water. Peter and Michael introduced us to the Shakespeare Bay lookout too. 

And then I faded, so ridiculously fast, into an afternoon nap that got me back on my feet in time for another New Zealand feast with Christine's extraordinarily lovely extended family.

But as I write this I'm realising that one of the huge challenges on this journey has been the fact that recording more than 1/5th of it has been impossible.  I couldn't write up all the good people we have met, shared meals with, nor all the food eaten, and then there are all the experiences I never ever want to forget. 

This morning finds me sitting at the dining room, in a welcome cross-breeze, table while Christine and Peter take care of us all.  The rain has stopped and humidity is high.  It's early-morning-18-celsius, and birdsong is exploding in through the open doors.  The Purangi River is out to my left, just a few metres away, and I can hear the conversation two kids are having as they paddle past.

We're located in a beautiful  little settlement called Cooks Beach, the place where Tahitian explorer and master mariner, Kupe first landed in about 950AD.  And where Captain Cook arrived back in 1769.  There is so much more but we're off … heading for Whitianga via the ferry and I'll load this at an internet cafe there.