The plan was for the touring party and wives to rendezvous at the Waitomo Caves Hotel on January 1st for a slightly belated New Year celebration before heading off into the back country for two days. The Orange Roughy and I left Wellington and steered a course up the middle of the island avoiding Highway 1 as much as possible. This is that bit or road with the papa cliffs just before Mangaweka up the road a bit from Peep-o-day. Uncle Rog is most familiar with it! This is on Link Road through the stunning Pureora Forest There'a a DOC camp there where we saw this novel family transporter and up the road a bit you'll find a signpost to the long-abandoned Crawler Tractor in the forest 200m walk from the road. Note the large hole in the crankcase. The view in the hole shows the reason for the breakdown and abandonment many years ago. Oscar and Mike came via the Putaki Republic, wherever the hell that is??? We made it into Waitomo a few minutes after the rest of the party and checked in. This is where the plan started to vary a bit as Oscar didn't feel too good, thought he might of had a crook pie for lunch. So the rest of us celebrated new years day and Oscar rested to gather his strength for the next day.