11 August 2007

Wanganui, New Zealand

After leaving Waitomo, we headed south to Wanganui.

Some interesting road conditions and a few hours later, we arrived at George's Mum's house. Pat has a gorgeous 100-year old house located not far from the river and downtown area. She has planted a beautiful garden complete with fruit trees, vegetable garden, several varieties of NZ flax, and carefully selected flowering plants. I'm shocked to learn how easily the arum lily grows in NZ! Pat has done a great job with her garden, and I intend to take some notes when we're back there next weekend.

During our visit, we went to Bushy Park so that I could see some native plants and animals. This is a lowland rainforest that is surrounded by a fence designed to keep all non-native plants and animals out of the area. We took a few walks around the property. Along the way, we managed to see a north island robin, several fantails, a flock of wood pigeons, the largest known northern rata tree in NZ, and many varieties of fern. It was a great day!

On our last full day, she drove us part way up the Whanganui River for a look up river toward Taumarunui. The scenery in this country never ceases to amaze me! After that, we went to the war memorial overlooking Wanganui for a look over the city. To wrap up the afternoon, we did some shopping in town. I particularly enjoyed being able to pick out pieces (paua, pearls, etc.) at the local bead/jewelry store and make my own creations.

We enjoyed our time with Pat and will return to Wanganui next Saturday to celebrate her birthday.

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