• Kinsa Hays

Journey through the centre of New Zealand

While I’m waiting for my house to sell, I’m house sitting anywhere around the lower half of the North Island of New Zealand. I get to live in some wonderful homes for free, provide a service by looking after pets while the owner’s away and see new parts of this beautiful scenic country.

Usually there are gaps between bookings. This time I visited my family in Auckland. I chose to be chauffeured, to listen to the interview of an artist for my next story on my Dictaphone and see the countryside. The Intercity bus was comfortable, reliable cheap and on time. I used the bus there and back and it took a different route each time.

Our first photo opportunity halt was near Taupo beside the Great Lake Taupo, at Huka Falls. The mighty Waikato River drains from Lake Taupo and hurtles through a narrow canyon before dropping spectacularly in a turquoise turbulence to the first hydro electric dam on its long journey to the Tasman Sea.

The Huka falls and the observation point

There’d been a big dump of snow on the Desert Road in the central North Island where our three volcanic mountains rear up into high altitudes the week I was in Auckland, closing the road several times. With the road open, the driver stopped for the passengers to have a snow fight.

Bus Passengers in the Desert Road snowy playground

Mt Ruapehu, central North Island plateau, NZ

Finally, the dogs which are my responsibility for the next three weeks – Zeus is part Rottweiler, part Lab and Misty is an I don’t know, but she is certainly slimmer than when I came up to meet them a couple of months ago.

My charges to care for, two old dogs

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