Friday 24th May 2013
We had originally planned to be in Taupo by now, and had thought today would have been a good day for the Tongariro Crossing but last week we discovered that we could get tickets for one of the marquee fixtures in the Super XV competition: Hamilton Chiefs versus Canterbury Crusaders.
After a lovely lazy morning we visited the Hamilton Gardens for lunch. The public gardens are owned and managed by the council and attract 600,000 people a year (not surprising given that it’s also free). The gardens were first developed on the city’s waste disposal site in the 1960s and since then they’ve got bigger and better.
There are four separate collections of gardens. My favourite was the one that emulated garden themes from around the world – a Japanese themed garden (reminding us of Isui-en and other places we saw in Japan), an American Modernist garden, a Chinese garden, an English flower garden, an Indian Char Bagh garden and an Italian Renaissance garden. But the other collections were good too – showing off the breadth of flora in landscapes, productive gardening and cultivars.
After the garden we returned to the Shand’s where John was barbecuing some incredible lamb and then we headed to the Waikato stadium for kickoff. Rugby is such a huge part of New Zealand life (remember the farmer at Hobbiton?) and getting the chance to watch a game while we were here was fantastic. Even better that the Chiefs won the game putting them in a strong position in the Super XV competition (although for some reason they weren’t playing their almost Bradford City colours)!
Distance travelled: 20km
Total distance travelled: 21,782km