Thursday, October 03, 2013

Central North Island

After visitng the Auckland Botanical Gardens on Day 12, I began driving back south but disaster struck when, after driving over 160 km, I stopped about 1pm for lunch in the little town of Tirau and realised I had left all my shirts hanging in the cupboard back in Auckland or actually Manukau (20 km south) where I had spent Sunday night.
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.