Overlander day; the rail journey the length of the North Island, described as one of the finest scenic rail journeys in the world. (I've forgotten who by. Possibly the New Zealand tourist board). It's another early morning start - a walk down the Terrace to the train station and a blessed relief when I get to hand my bag over to a bloke claiming to be the luggage man.

The New Zealand country does lose something in the rain. However, the engineering required to make this line happen remains impressive, with numerous viaducts and crazy schemes to enable the train to descend from the Central Plateau. The best known civil engineering feat, the Raurimu Spiral, is narrated in the detail necessary to understand where the line is going.

At this point, my notes give out. I assume I made it to Auckland's curiously named Britomart station and from there, to my gracious hosts. But I could have been marooned miles from civilisation, kidnapped by hillbillies and forced to work in their lint mines. We just don't know.

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