Having thoroughly disrupted Ngaire’s morning, she prepared a comprehensive itinerary of sightseeing around Rotorua.

We started in Kuirau Park to see the bubbling geysers … from whence emanates the revolting smell of sulphur that envelops Rotorua on an overcast day.

A professor and his students were measuring the temperature of the various bubbling pools. Some are nearly boiling, and are surrounded by fences and ‘danger’ signs.

In somewhat gratuitous detail, the professor explained why the fences were necessary.

Apparently it was not uncommon for drunks to lose their way in the park at night and fall into the pools. “It was pretty a gruesome sight in the morning”, he said, “their arms and legs came away like boiled chicken …”

On the way out to the museum, we passed the Air New Zealand office. Within a couple of days of our arrival in New Zealand, we had decided to extend our stay by a week, so now seemed an ideal time to change our flights. Changing the Melbourne flight to the 21st was no problem, but when we enquired about changing the internal flights, Sydney to Cairns, Cairns to Ayers Rock, and Ayers Rock to Perth, we were told that Australia’s domestic airline, Ansett, had ceased to exist, and our tickets were no longer valid. The Australian portion of our trip now required a major re-think. Bummer!

We decided to skip Waimerangu Springs and go in search of an Australian guide book and map.

That evening, Brigid contacted her old friend Suzie Wilson, and arranged to see her on Friday evening. We would be arriving just in time to help the Wilsons plant their first vines.