An extended night’s stay with Mike and Karen to accept the extended offer for a lift to Taupo resulted.

Being dropped off at the Top 10 Holiday Park in Taupo a day earlier than booked was a risk.  It was manic driving through the town with the population having swollen due to the holiday transients.  Everywhere we passed read, ‘No Vacancy’.  However, when old people with their lives on their backs show up in person with no vehicle, we played the part of looking desperate!

It worked.  We were driven to site 44 and pitched Kermit.  We looked so out of place with just our tent and a half share of a picnic table from the campsite beside on the piece of dirt we would spend our last days of 2016 on.  It was hilarious and eventually neighbours were met with explanation.  And then with wonderment.

Our time with Mike and Karen was outstanding.  They have nutted the dream, design and do down to a tee so as to make the most of every opportunity with passion, zeal and enthusiasm.  This led into a phone call to a fella whom I went through the schooling years with – Charlie Beagle.

He picked us up and we spent an evening dinner with him and his lovely wife Michelle.  It was the first time in over 35 years that we had conversed and so there was a heap of words spoken.  The face was frequently contorted from wrinkles of laughter as we reminisced the growing up days of speedo’s and girls; playing rugby league to youth group shenanigans; present day relationships and working history.  It made returning to our slice of dirt after the camp had quietened down entertaining as we un-zipped a metre of canvas to disappear within the realms of Kermit.  Neighbouring tents were a sound of thunder from the snoring but that didn’t deter our getting comfortable again on the ground to nod off.

With the arrival of the last day of 2016, we were fortunate to be picked up by our Drury hosts Warren and Suzanne who were returning home to Auckland from Wellington.  Breakfast and catch up chat before they too sped off into the traffic flow.  We remained in the lakeside township itself wandering around as tourists until Claire’s brother’s family arrived later in the day.  It was great to see Warren and Co to spend some family time with, family.

As the sun snuck behind the mountain range, the temperature dropped.  We walked back to camp and were in bed for the sound of “Happy New Year”, Auld Lang Syne and the thundering fireworks echoing from the lake water distance.  Sleeping bags moved closer together to acknowledge the year we have just left behind.  It’s been gigantic.   And then we drifted off to sleep again as revellers continued to cheer.

Best wishes for 2017 people.  Make it your best year ever.