Dubai, UAE

Dubai has less than six days of fog each year.  After our nineteen hour journey from Auckland we were diverted fifty miles north of Dubai due to fog.

As we sat on the runway for six and half hours the plane ran out of food.  Having refuelled for a ten-minute flight back to Dubai we landed and waited for another hour and half before the plane could find a gate for passengers to disembark.  By the time we went to bed that night we had been up for forty eight hours but we slept like babies and avoided any jetlag!

Dubai was as glitzy as ever and our son Philip and his partner Georgina took us to Zuma for my birthday.  Delicious!

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Auckland, New Zealand

Auckland was the close of our New Zealand odyssey and we were not disappointed by views of Auckland from a volcanic crater and a walk through Waitekere Range Park.

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Thermal Lake, Wai-O-Tapu

Rotorua, New Zealand

Fortunately, we switched hotels a few days before we arrived in Rotorua and were rewarded with a great view of the lake.  Rotorua is overtly a tourist destination catering for backpackers and coach parties.  This was reflected in Eat Street where the bars outweighed the dining options and sparrows flew around restaurants terrorising the diners.

Rotorua Museum is well worth a visit, the Buried Village of Te Wairoa has a link below.  Wairere waterfall required a long decent and a strenuous climb back to the village.

http://www.rotoruamuseum.co.nz

http://www.buriedvillage.co.nz

Wai-O-Tapu was the best geothermal park we visited in the Rotorua area.

http://waiotapu.co.nz

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Lake Taupo Sunset

Lake Taupo, New Zealand

After a nightmarish rain drenched drive from Napier on single lane roads with large trucks hurtling towards us we reached Lake Taupo where the sun came out to provide a magical sunset.

http://www.greatlaketaupo.com

At the Hilton we grappled with the wi-fi but what we lost in bandwidth the hotel made up for in the restaurant, the enjoyable Bistro Lago.

http://www.bistrolago.co.nz/menu/mains/

The next day we visited Wairakei Terraces, Craters of the Moon thermal park and Huka Falls.

http://www.wairakeiterraces.co.nz

http://www.cratersofthemoon.co.nz

En-route to Rotorua we visited Orakei Korako, another geothermal experience.

http://www.orakeikorako.co.nz

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Napier Art Deco

Napier Art Deco City, New Zealand

Because of an earthquake in 1931 the town was rebuilt in the contemporary Art Deco style.  It is now one of the major Art Deco cities of the world and celebrates this annually with an Art Deco weekend,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1931_Hawke’s_Bay_earthquake

http://www.artdeconapier.com/pages/events

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Kelly with a writing group?

2014 Rugby Sevens, Wellington, New Zealand

Wellington was awash with groups in fancy dress celebrating The IRB Rugby Sevens when I met up with Kelly Marshall on a teaching assignment in New Zealand.

http://www.irbsevens.com/destination/edition=3/

The photo below features Kelly attempting to impart screenwriting wisdom to a group of blonds!

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Picton to Wellington Ferry, New Zealand

Staying at Portage on the Marlborough Sound the night before meant rising at 6AM and embarking on a forty five minute twisting hairpin bend drive before reaching the main road to Picton.

https://www.interislander.co.nz

The weather was kind for the four hour journey from Picton to Wellington.  On the boat we shared a small lounge area with a couple from Manchester who run their own luxury train service, the Golden Eagle.

http://www.goldeneagleluxurytrains.com

Wellington was buzzing with activity surrounding the Rugby Sevens Tournament.

http://michaelcolman.wordpress.com/2014/03/01/2014-rugby-sevens-wellington-new-zealand/

http://www.irbsevens.com/destination/edition=3/

After a quick turnaround at out hotel we were out on the town with Chris a good friend we had not seen in three years.

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