After a brief service on Sunday, with only 16 adults and 8 children present (why did we bother?) we set off on the first leg of our epic journey. We knew that there were problems on SH1, so we chose SH2 over the Rimutakas and then across country. Bad choice: it adds over 100km to the journey, much of it on lousy roads. We arrived quite late at Taupo, which was still beautiful, as ever, and headed off to Hell Pizza for pizza. This was a great success with all but Matthew, who found the sausage on the pizza too spicy, but all was well otherwise.
We left Taupo and headed up to Ngaruawahia. The waether was not at all kind to us and I was glad that the roads were better. It kept on raining, being fine, raining, being fine some more...at some point I had to pull over as I couldn't see the road and the sky properly, but it soon cleared up. our bad mistake was soon after, when we went between showers to the local spa, where the weather was temporarily glorious, and unfortunately we were burned to a frazzle.
An easy drive to Auckland Airport, and a day at Rainbow's End theme park, which isn't Disneyland, but is still a reasonable day out, with rides both wild and lame, shows, dodgy food and queues. That was pretty goiod, and we went to bed prepared for the following day's journey.
A flight of three hours to Port Vila on a nearly empty 737, and into our hotel within an hour of landing.