I immediately began the drive back and, although delayed by an accident on the motorway, collected my shirts about 3.30pm, rang my accommodation for that night to say I would be very late and drove back stopping first for petrol and coffee and later a hamburger. I arrived Turangi just after 8pm having driven over 650 km instead of the planned 306 km. Obviously I have no photos from that journey.
I stayed 2 nights in Turangi and so on Day 13 walked about 8 km along the river in the morning.
In the afternoon, I drove past the 3 volcanoes on the plateau to the skifield at Ruapehu. I had only been there in summer previously.
1. Mount Tongariro 1,978 metres, erupted in August and November 2012
2. Mount Ngauruhoe, 2,291 metres, last erupted 1977 and is better known as it was filmed as Mt Doom in "Lord of the Rings"
3. Mt Ruapehu, 2797 metres, last erupted in 2007 but there have been regular warnings in recent years
On it's slopes are Chateau Tongariro
and the Whakapapa skifield
On the way back to Turangi there is a great lookout over Lake Taupo.
On Day 14, snow was forecast so I hurried along the Desert Road which is often closed by snow. I drove on the other side of the volcanoes and stopped for morning tea just south of Taihape with a view down to the Rangitikei River.
Rain had set in as I stopped for an hour in Palmerston North and I had lunch in Levin then drove down the Kapiti coast to Upper Hutt.