Our stay with Andrew amd Suzie has been so relaxing. The past two nights have felt like we were staying with relatives, not strangers who opened their home and lives to us. We’ve played with their big boofy dog, petted their cats, shared meals, swapped storied and watched some tele. I’m almost sad our stay has to end yet excited about what lies ahead.
We continue our drive through the farmlands between Mt Taranaki and the sea. There are odd mounds everywhere that look like the remnants of an eruption. I’ve never seen this kind of landscape before so it intrugues me.
New Zealand is far more rural and isolated than I had anticipated. Red tin sheds and old houses dot the landscape.
Stratford appears as if from nowhere. There are no distance signs in New Zealand to announce the approach of towns. An art gallery is the main attraction for the town. It’s a groovy place with some gorgeous pieces. We buy two pottery monks.
Eltham is a short drive away. A local park is home to a wall of toys, faerie chapel and castle. It’s adorable. The toy wall and garden was created after a local found a toy on her garden and placed it on a wall in the garden. The toy garden grew as more people placed toys there. Today, the founder’s ashes are housed in the faerie chapel.
There’s also an art gallery in town. We buy some works here too.
Our next stop is Hawera where there is another gallery and also an art school. The art world is in safe hands. We buy some paintings and the artist happens to be onsite. She signs the works.