Monday 21st January

After exiting customs, the van (and truck) drivers went to fetch the vehicles while everyone else got all the luggage into a position outdoors to be picked up. The vans shuttled luggage and people to the Holiday Inn, where showers were available and team members reorganised themselves into R&R groups.

First to leave was the group who were heading for Rotorua, who stopped for a delicious tapas lunch in Hamilton en route. They continued down to Mourea, where their accommodation was a lovely lakeside lodge. They investigated the area, made plans for the next day and enjoyed an excellent meal (mostly steak) in town before crashing out for a full night’s sleep.

A group of 7, led by Jane Messer, enjoyed a great day on the Coromandel Peninsula, a couple of hours’ drive east of Auckland.

Renowned for stunning scenery, it did not disappoint. They encountered a lot of winding hill passes, with precipitous drops narrowly avoided by Nigel Ball’s driving. A couple of dead cars were seen having been rolled down a steep hillside, we think as a deterrent to fast driving. Jackie Davies heard that two dead calves were being tumbled down the hill, so clearly her ears have yet to pop after her 14 hour flight from Vancouver. A beach walk finished the day’s action before dinner and the promise of some hot bubbling mud tomorrow.

The Auckland group took a 90 minute drive to Leigh up through the luscious, green hills and valleys. The vista opened up over a hill and they found Dom Harvey’s house perched on top with a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean.

Late lunch of snappet and chips was taken in Matakana before a short trip to the shops to stock up and off to Omaha Beach. There were stunning views with some swimming, body boarding and cheeky seagulls eating the group’s crisps. Toby Raincock got to play with his drone in high winds, which was entertaining and scary in equal measure. Practice needed. Everyone went back to Dom’s place for a BBQ overlooking the ocean…and some much needed sleep.
The wine tasting group went into central Auckland to have lunch at the harbourside ocean bar and grill. They then walked off the excellent lunch by heading up mount Eden which had great views over the city, before heading east to catch up with a friend of James Watson’s and spend the night in the coach house in a the very small town of Puriri for a proper local NZ experience.

Finally, the rifles/team baggage group shifted all the rifle cases yet again and rearranged the furniture so that Jack Alexander and Simon Belither could share their room with 97 rifles! Truck loading commenced at 4am on Tuesday, finishing at 4:50 in preparation for the baggage run down to Trentham… #noneedtobuyourownbeerthistour

Very well done to them, and most of all to Adjutant David Rose, whose meticulous planning made the whole journey to New Zealand super-smooth, aided by his sage advice to all of us to go into “sheep mode”.

1 Comment

  1. Gary alexander

    The U21’s would like to second thanks to David MC Adj and the lorry crew , all stars!!


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