For our next weekend, we were wondering where we would go. On checking in the internet with the help of Google, Shiv spotted a visiting place called Taupo. This had many beautiful spots to offer to the tourists. Along with that the place was near Hamilton, which we were scheduled to visit, on that second weekend. On week days both were busy with their respective offices leaving Gautam and me to fend for ourselves. So after breakfast I would start cooking lunch for us both in the kitchen, which was well-fitted with all the required utensils and cutlery. Then post lunch, dinner and next day meal arrangements had to be made.
Around 6 o clock in the evening, Ria would return and then Shiv. These days he was slightly busy with a new type of work in a new job that he was in. Dinner would be served as soon as possible. Ria would get busy packing their lunch boxes for the next day soon after. Later we would all sit and chat, watch interesting TV serials along with latest films in their nice big TV screen. A Pakistani serial consisting of 23 episodes, was of great interest, which we watched with regularity. Lots of newly released films were on the cards and we watched them one by one.
Hamilton held interest for us as it was the first place that Ria had come to. She had been invited to take admission in the Wintec Institute, there in Hamilton. We were curious to see which house she was first put up in, as a paying guest. Shiv had joined her there, after a month. He had resigned his Mumbai job and then shifted to New Zealand in 2015. Ria and Shiv had spent those initial difficult days together, when jobs were scarce to come by, and money difficult to earn.
I brought myself back from my trail of thought. Hamilton was a 3 hour journey from Auckland city where we were. Shiv had not driven so far in his new car away from Auckland. He decided to undertake this long journey with us in tow, for the first time. The day finally came for us to leave for Taupo. As we left the city limits, the long undulating roads and the countryside showed up with its great natural beauty. We were impressed immensely, by what we saw. Houses with pretty flowers surrounding them, the lush fields dotted with cows, sheep or horses, hills and a variety of flora and fauna all met our eye. The clear azure sky and clouds were so near, I thought I could touch them with my hands.
Finally we reached Hamilton, and visited Ria’s college, which is built on a hill. We toured the place and saw where they would sit and study the whole night: that place which had 24/7 internet connection. The warm and inviting hall also had computer facility for each student. My heart went out to the poor girl who put in so much effort and sacrifice. Far away from home and relatives for her studies she completed her course with flying colors. In a nearby mall we had lunch in an Indian joint called “Shamiyana”. There we got talking with a Phillipino couple who were enjoying Indian food at the next table.
The visit to the Hamilton Gardens was an “one of a kind” experience. This 54 acres park is laid out on the shores of the Waikato River and consists of enclosed gardens and open lawn, a lake and a nursery. The colorful flowers, all over the place, were stunning to see.
After that we drove up to the Huka Falls, which was a pleasure to behold. The sheer blue water and white foam stole our hearts. At a point the waters met to make a huge pool and the visitors gathered to see this beauty spot of nature, with smiles and selfies. Then from there we reached a place called Craters of the Moon. It involved walking on narrow paths over a volcanic area with lots of shallow wells emanating smoke at several places. There cannot be smoke without fire. I realised that in the deep belly of the earth, was the fiery volcanic activity that led to the surfacing of the smoke that we saw while walking over this area. Tourists from all over the world were there to witness this occurrence of subdued volcanic activity, a rare geographical phenomenon.
We had coffee after the visit and then went on to meet Shiv’s Indian friends who were also pally with Ria. Two friends Abhishek and Anand were with their families and they offered us snacks and tea. Anand Singh, a doctor had moved into his new home here a couple of months back.
The scenic beauty spots included a place called The Taupo Lake and we drove up to see it. It was so beautiful with clean water and different types of birds walking up to where we stood on the banks. The birds fearlessly came close to the visitors quacking and cooing as if enjoying themselves. This delightful scene was being clicked by the visitors. The pics would “ flash upon that inward eye which is the bliss of solitude.”
Eventually the evening caught up with us and we had dinner at a place called “Chinese Canteen” where the food was delicious. After that we repaired to a motel “Silver Ferns” which Shiv had booked earlier. The cozy sheets were a warm place to curl into, as we were tired after a long day. The heaters in the room were comforting as the weather was cool.