All packed and battened down. We have to return the van today at 3:30, so we have some time to enjoy our last day in NZ. First into Hamilton, for some coffee/chai, and some free community wifi, for this town is completely wired! Hallelujah! No free wifi is strong enough to post my blogs, so they are piling up and will now have to be posted from Santa Cruz. Sorry folks!
Next stop to see the statue of Riff Raff, and it doesn't disappoint. For Hamilton is the home of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, although it is hard to imagine this lovely, normal-seeming country town giving birth to the sweet trans-sexuals of Transylvania, but then, whatever. I paid my homage to one of my favorite films.
Today we visited the Hamilton Gardens, which have just won an international award for Best Gardens in the World or something like that. Free admission gets you into this extraordinary place where themed gardens abound. Here are some: Chinese Scholars Garden, English Flower Garden, Japanese Garden of Contemplation, American Modernist Garden, Italian Renaissance Garden, Indian Char Bagh Garden, Te Parapara Maori Garden, Kitchen Garden, Sustainable Backyard Garden, Herb Garden, Perfume Garden, Rose Garden, and so many more. They even have a gorgeous dog off-leash area and acres of rolling green lawns and woods. Again you could spend days in this city-run park, but alas we had a plane to catch. We had a superb Vietnamese lunch (Banh Mi Caphe) then raced out of Hamilton to the airport.
We bid a sad farewell to the camper van, then got to the airport only to find that our flight was going to be delayed several hours. Apparently they discovered a fuel leak, so they had to remove all the fuel from the plane, repair the leak, and then refuel. This took 4 hours, so we spent a lot of time at Auckland Airport waiting around, but also being thankful that somebody found that leak before we flew out over the Pacific! I'm writing this now in the plane after several hours sleep. We should be home soon!
Later: We Are Home!!!