Last weekend, as I mentioned, we took a long weekend and did some travelling, at the kind invitation of Hans Hockey.
On Saturday morning we took the bus to Hamilton. Hans met us at the bus station, drove us round the lake, and took us to the jetty for a lunch cruise on the Waikato river. After that, we had a leisurely stroll round the Hamilton Gardens, one of my favourite places: it features beautifully executed gardens from various places and periods including Japanese meditation garden, Chinese scholar’s garden, West Coast modernist garden, and Italian renaissance garden.
It was the 50th anniversary of the University of Waikato, and we went to the Staff Revue, a pantomime of Little Red PhD Hood and the Wicked Librarian, interspersed with musical interludes, mostly music from 1964 (my first year as a university student and a great year for music!)
The next morning we drove with Hans’ family to their house in Taupo. In the afternoon we climbed the 1088 metre Mt Tauhara, overlooking the lake. We soothed tired muscles with a dip in the hot mineral waters.
On Sunday, we drove to Napier. The spectacular mountain views were somewhat wasted on us, as for most of the drive we had rain and fog.
Napier was flattened by an earthquake and fires in 1931, but was quickly rebuilt, mostly in the Art Deco style popular at the time. Much of the Art Deco survives and is one of the town’s claims to fame now. Unfortunately, our views of this were also hampered by the pouring rain. After sightseeing, while Hans and family visited his sister, we drove back to Taupo.
The next morning, the clouds over Taupo finally cleared and gave us the view at the top of this post, of Ruapehu seen across Lake Taupo. This vast lake takes up part of the caldera of a huge volcano that erupted in about 200AD, possibly affecting climate and crops over much of the northern hemisphere.
We drove back to Hamilton and went to the University of Waikato, where our host was Nick Cavenagh. We had lunch with the mathematicians and statisticians, and then gave back-to-back talks, before catching the bus back to Auckland.