Couldn’t leave without visiting Wihai’s Visitor Centre at the Martha Hill Mine. We walked a short distance to the old pump house, and looked down into the 600m deep open cast mine. The noise of the machinery seemed strangely distant, despite being directly below us. But, otherwise, the mine itself was quite dull.
We took the coastal road (SH2) to Tauranga, then looked for the “direct” road to Rotorua. We must have taken a wrong turn somewhere, but spotted a sign for “Windsong Miniature Horses”. Intrigued, we followed the road to the Windsong Stud, and arrived just in time for their “Wild West” show … aimed at the predominantly under-10 audience!
After a cringe-inducing musical opening number from the owners, we were won over by the real stars of the show – the miniature horses (Falabellas, as they used to be known).
They averaged about 36” high, and the best examples were indeed perfectly proportioned miniature horses – too small to ride, but trained to jump and pull small wagons and gigs.
We arrived in Rotorua around 5pm and sought out Cameron in his workshop. Ngaire (pronounced ‘niari’) had cooked up a delicious stew in honour of our arrival. We talked till late, drank too much wine, and parked in their drive overnight!