Thursday, April 13, 2006

All good things...

Captains Blog, April 6, 7, 8 The Final Frontier

After our last magnificent outing in Rotorua, we pointed the Starship Laser towards Mt. Ruhapehu, armed with yet another half price accomodation docket. This turned out to be the best of all, as we landed at the oppulent Chateau Tongariro.
Immediately our accents changed to those of well heeled English fops, with phrases the ilk of "Oh yes, jolly good" and "I say, smashing shot" as we played snooker on the full size table in the chandelier adorned lounge. Such luxury we may never experience again. The next morning we pumped up the tyres to 60psi and headed up the pavement to the end of the road to Mt. Ruhapehu, an active volcano and one of the North Island's premier ski destinations. A bit like the moon up there. We probably should've spent the time to go up on the lift to see the crater lake, apparently pretty spectacular. But we just got our kicks from blasting back down the road, overtaking cars at 70kmh, a bit hairy on knobby tyres. Then it was back in the Starship and towards Wanganui, a town which I spent a lot of time in when growing up, as my grandparents lived there for many years, and we would visit them every Xmas. The memories came flooding back as I climbed the stairs of Durie Hill tower, mixed with the ducks at Virginia Lake, and walked around the cricket ground at Cook Gardens. The final leg took us back to Carterton, where we had a day's rest to clean and pack our bikes for the return to Oz. Before hitting the airport, it was a stop off to see my Grandma, 97 years and still overtaking 70 year olds down the hallway in her zimmer! Then over to have lunch with my Uncle and Aunty, who are always good for a feed, beer, and a laugh. It was great to end my trip seeing my family again, reminding me just what a good family I have. Then the real fun began. Checking in our luggage, we were informed that we had excess and would have to pay $340 between us! NO WAY! After fruitless negotiations, we frantically unloaded as much flotsam as we could, me ending up forfeitting my empty beer bottles and walking onto the plane with plastic bags filled with clothes. Still got hit with $85 each though, strange how we didn't get charged on the way over for much the same baggage. We tried to make up for it in free beer on the flight, but 3 hours just isn't enough time to drink $85 worth, and we fell well short of the mark. But we'll get you back, Qantas!

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