The couple arrived at Redwoods Treewalk in Rotorua for the final stop of their tour.
They were greeted by a crowd of mountain bikers, dog walkers and Halloween-costumed children.
Meghan and Harry were warmly welcomed by staff members, before they enjoyed admiring a 2000-year-old trunk section of Californian redwood, there as a comparison to the much-younger, slimmer, 117-year-old ones in the forest.
After that, they were escorted up a wooden track that spiraled to a platform nine meters above the ground, where they admired hanging wooden lanterns and received an explanation from staff.
Meghan and Harry where then escorted across a wobbly bridge to tread part of the 700m elevated path- They paused briefly on a “living deck” that “provided a birds-eye view of the crowd and contained a sign about how the redwoods thick bark protects against insects and fire, aiding its longevity.”
After the bridge crossing, Meghan and Harry walked hand in hand, through the redwood forest at ground level, stopping to admire a spectacularly clear blue pool ringed by ponga ferns.
“Shortly afterwards, a group of mountain bikers of all ages rode past to a table of waiting drinks, where they met the royals, Meghan greeting bikers with a “kia ora”. She was gifted a soft-toy tuatara, which she squeezed, the commented, “Oh, it makes a noise.”
Meghan asked, “Do you usually have refreshments waiting at the end of the ride?” The bikers laughed and admitted it was just on this trip they’d experienced the perk.
Harry asked the riders, “Do you know how lucky you are to have a place like this?” Meghan added, “This place is your backyard. It’s great. It’s really special. Beautiful.””
Harry also joked to biker 17-year-old Tuhoto-Ariki Pene, NZ’s U19 national downhill champion, about the black leather shoes he was wearing with his riding gear, quipping, “Someone said smart casual?” Sam Osborne, 26, of Rotorua, an off-road triathlete who came third on Sunday’s world champs, said, “They congratulated me, and we spoke about the forest. They wanted to know how many hours I spend here. I don’t think they understood how huge the park is. They were very respectful, average people. They’re humble and nice-natured.”
Lewis Ryan, 20, junior off-road triathlon world champ from Rotorua was thrilled to have met the pair.
“They really seemed genuinely amazed by the forest here and took an interest in what we’re doing. They reminded us it’s a privilege to have this forest. It’s funny someone had to travel across the world to remind us how special this place is.”
As Meghan and Harry left Harry said, “Bye, guys, enjoy this heaven.” They walked away holding hands through the redwoods.
For the last engagement on the tour, Meghan changed into Harry’s Norrona Oslo Jacket.
And her Birdies Blackbird Slippers.
She accessorized with the Boh Runga Discologo earrings Jacinda Ardern gifted her.
And with that, their tour has come to an end. It’s been a memorable one – both for Meghan and Harry as it is their first tour as a married couple, but also the scores of people who had the chance to encounter them – even if it was just from afar.
They made 16 days and over 70 engagements so memorable and full of joy. Thanks for following my blog during this trip. It has been a real privilege covering it!