While five in our party of seven went off to make the most of skiing and snowboarding, DH and I decided on more sedate pasttimes.

After a leisurely breakfast we began by visiting the memorial at Tangiwai, the scene of New Zealand's worst railway disaster on Christmas Eve, 1953, when 151 people lost their lives after a lahar weakened the railway bridge at Tangiwai and their train crashed into the river.

It was sobering to visit the site which appeared benign in the morning light and think of the loss of life. Warning systems and gates are now in place in the event of another lahar spill from Mount Ruapehu.

After Tangiwai, we decided to go for another walk, this time through beech forest on Mount Ruapehu. It was peaceful, restful, at times muddy, and the scenery relatively unchanging. We stopped for lunch after an hour and then retraced our steps.

It was then back to the house where we were once again greeted by amazing views and peace and quiet. I think I could easily get used to this!