Royals

Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan wrap up their royal tour of NZ with a walk amongst the treetops

What better way to farewell the Land of the Long White Cloud.

It's been a memorable last day on their whirlwind tour of New Zealand.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex arrived at Redwoods Treewalk in Rotorua for the final stop on their four day tour of the country, where they were greeted by a crowd of mountain bikers, dog walkers and Halloween-costumed children.
After a welcome from staff, the couple admired 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.
The royals were then escorted up a wooden track that spiralled to a platform nine metres above the ground, where they admired hanging wooden lanterns and received an explanation from staff.
Meghan, in a black puffer jacket, black pants and flat shoes, smiled enthusiastically throughout. Harry wore a black long-sleeved shirt and beige chinos.
From there, the couple were escorted across a wobbly bridge to tread part of the 700m elevated path, pausing 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 Treewalk, Harry and Meghan held hands as they walked 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."
Vanessa Quinn, 42, former downhill mountain bike world champion from Tauranga, now a cycle safety educator, was equally as impressed.
"Weren't they just lovely? So down-to-earth," she said. "They were asking about the forest and who used it. They said it was really lovely and enjoyed taking it all in."
The royals expressed their regret that they didn't have a chance to ride themselves but hoped to be back.
As they left, Harry said, "Bye, guys, enjoy this heaven." They walked away holding hands through the redwoods.
And with that, their tour has come to an end. It's been a memorable one - both for the Duke and Duchess, and the scores of people who had the chance to encounter them - even if it was just from afar.