30 + 31 October 2 in 1 ;)

Travel blog about our trip to New Zealand in October/November 2008
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Lid geworden op: 15 sep 2012, 21:44

30 + 31 October 2 in 1 ;)

Bericht door Pieter »

31 October 2008 - Wellington, New-Zealand

30-10-2008 Forgotten World Highway (SH43)

From Taumarunui to Wanganui is our trip for today, again on a different campsite than planned :lach2: . What’s new, we might just as well toss our planning out the window :knip2: . Our trip today was breathtakingly beautiful, narrow winding roads, partly unsealed, where the kidneys take a battering because the fresh rock over the surface is very course. Luckily we didn’t get a puncture on the sharp rocks. All in all it’s been a long trip, partly because the planned campsite wasn’t much so we decided to move on. Just a little later for our afternoon drinks :knip2:

The scenery we’ve been driving through is out of this world, you can stop after every bend in the road to take photos of the ever changing landscape. Driving over the ridges is real fun, after every short and tight corner the next one comes in sight, with steep walls on one side and steep drops on the other side. Once at the top there is another amazing landscape unfolding before our eyes and that’s why we made lots of photos. The road leads through the Tangerakau Gorge, where it’s nothing more than a single track unsealed road, it feels like driving through the jungle and in fact that’s what it is. There is no signal for the mobile phone and completely shut off from society.
Towering overgrown mountain walls left and right with the river in between, a wonder there was room for this road. Naturally we’ve got some photos of all this and we also went to the grave of the man that found this trail. It’s a beautiful and very peaceful spot and except for the odd visitor it’s very quiet there.
The road is also very quiet, we could count the passing cars on two hands. Near Tahora we made a stop at a very nice roadside café, on top of a hill with a beautiful view at Mount Doom and two other volcano’s. Hopefully they show up nicely on the photos, because they were glistening in the sun.
The café was for sale and we immediately thought about Nico and Tineke and buying it together. What a view to wake up to early in the morning, pure heaven.
For lunch we had a delicious cappuccino with an even delicious toasted sandwich, from which the cheese dripped on fingers and plate. A tip for the next visitor, blow on it to cool it down, otherwise you’ll burn your tongue on the cheese. After this we climbed two more saddles (that’s what they called around here).
Near Toka we got a view on Mount Taranaki, which, as we told earlier, has been used in the film the Last Samurai. It was mostly covered in clouds, but still we wanted to take some photos from the mountain. Past Stratford we got lucky, the mountain was visible for the biggest part of it, giving us and others an opportunity to get some beautiful photos. Fortune comes to those who wait :knip2: (the very friendly Kiwi’s we met during lunch already said it: if it’s an big mountain and you have a chance for a picture, take IT!!).
Because we aren’t in the mood for cooking this evening (we hardly ever cook here :lach1: ) we stopped for a hot meal and that’s just what it was. The food along the road is in general a bit disappointing, besides the few good ones, mostly they are crummy places, badly maintained and the food tastes like the cheap snack joints we have in the Netherlands.
I think we mentioned it before (old age), but the biggest miser here is internet. The Wi-Fi doesn’t work on this campsite and the two prehistoric computers in the kiosk can’t handle traffic.
Too bad for all of you, no story and no photos. Tomorrow will hopefully be better and we’ll be writing a long story. For now this will do, I’m going to relax now and see if I can annoy the campsite owner :knip2: complaining about the lack of internet :lach2: (P).

It’s me again (M). Pieter told pretty much all there is to tell. To explain exactly what we saw today is impossible. I’ve got a sore arm from filming the views and of course enjoyed the trip very much. To be honest: so much beauty in just a little while I’ve never seen before.
It took us some 5 hours to complete around 150 kilometres, but it was worth it. The café where we had the toasted sandwiches: see the photo. A big wow. Nicotineke would’ve loved it :knip1: . Pieter could do the weekly groceries! A 2 hour trip …
But I think the lovely owners of the place hardly make a living from the café and campsite, that’s why is was for sale, lock stock and barrel. I don’t know how much the asking price was, but I don’t think it would be very expensive.

The plan was to stay at Ashley Park, but that wasn’t much of a campsite. Also they didn’t have an internet connection. There were lots of chickens and roosters, so an alarm wouldn’t be necessary!
Now we’re on the Wanganui river at www.wriverp10.co.nz , where they have a problem with the internet connection, duh! It doesn’t matter, I’m going to call Dyan so she can post a short message and tomorrow the post will be very large, with lots of photos!!!
We’re done like a overcooked spud so we’ll take an early night. Tomorrow we’ll be heading for Wellington, where we possibly going to visit a LOTR site and settle early on a campsite nearby. It’s not very far from here. Before we’re going across to the South Island on Saturday I hope to muck out the campervan and possibly some quality bath time. We look like savages, Pieter even grows a goatee!! Hahahaha!! Long live camper life :knip1: .
Ow dear, Pedro has made contact with the neighbour, a model boat builder by the look of it, because he takes better care on his boat than on his car and caravan. Pieter also loves model building, hence the contact. I’m going to call the kid, maybe there will be more to follow, don’t know :knip1: (M)

There were 3 model boats, they both were into model building and just got back from New Plymouth where they took part in a model boat show and demonstration. In the car were a fishing boat and a tanker which he had remodelled in a heavy lift vessel, a boat they can sink on order to take on board other vessels. It reached almost 2,5 metres in length.
Nice to be able to get in contact with other people and New Zealand is the place to be. They are very friendly around here and always have time for a chat. A nice part of getting to know other people is that they know special places you won’t find in any of the guide books. Given a couple of new tips we are going to take a look at all the beauty around here. (P)

31-10-2008 Van Wanganui to Wellington

The last full day on the North Island and because it would be just a short trip, we left a little later than we usually do, it already was past 9 before we left. We’ve slept 9 hours, what an outrage.
After getting some essential groceries we left the town in a hurry, down the state highway south. In Foxton we made a coffee stop and what did we see? Cats, just not any cats but real beauties, there was a Siamese who took a look at us, but wouldn’t come to us to greet us and there was a black cat, some kind of oriental variety. This one was very friendly and loved to cuddle.
The weather was nice so we drank our coffee outside in the beautiful garden. This was very unexpected, because it can’t be seen from the road. Despite the road noise it was a really peaceful spot.
We had found a beautiful route on the map which would save us a long detour, but if we had taken the way around we would have been much sooner at the place we wanted to visit. The LOTR location where they filmed Rivendell was our goal and the shortcut was a narrow road through the mountains, with sharp corners and steep climbs. Luckily we didn’t came across other cars or trucks, because that would have been a problem. Every now and then we caught a glimpse of the surrounding area, mostly they were steep cliffs, very nice to drive this kind of roads.
We came across a waterfall, not a very big one, but beautiful. Here we took the first photos of the day. The road got better and wider, we were allowed to go 70 km/h :lach2: . The total length of the road was about 25 kilometres and it took us over an hour to finish, which says it all about our speed.
The road runs between Waikanae and Brown Owl, through the Tararua Forrest Park and the Akatarawa Valley.
Time for lunch, we stopped at Aston Norwood Café & Function Centre near Pakuratahi, where we had a delicious toasted sandwich :knip2: , we hadn’t had one for ages :lach2: . It’s a beautiful place with a motel and a very beautiful garden at the back, we sure know how to find them :knip2: .
Next stop was Rivendell, or rather, the location where this has been put on film. It’s a wonderful location and although there is nothing left of the decors you still can find familiar things, like the one tall tree. The river sparkles and flows between the big boulders and the perfect round pebbles. The cable bridge over the river was fun, it swayed like a boat on the waves. After getting the balance right I took some photos here. The fun bit was that the solid ground also was swaying and no, it wasn’t the drinks :lach2: .

Onwards to Wellington, our last night on the North Island. We booked a studio, nice to have our own toilet and bathroom plus a decent bed, although the bed in the campervan isn’t bad at all, but it’s nice to have some space. We’re at a good spot, 5 minutes from the harbour, so we don’t have to leave in a hurry tomorrow morning. We also want to visit the Te Papa museum and if possible, we want to buy a small external hard disk drive because the 6Gb memory cards in the camera are almost full.
We arrived early and are going to enjoy a shower and a meal, wireless internet is only available in the café which makes for a nice excuse to go for a drink. This is it from me for now, I’m going to enjoy the lovely weather, clear skies and a nice sunshine. (P)

Oké, it’s me again, because when Pedro comes out of the shower (he’s taking his time) we are going to the café ( www.capitalgateway.co.nz ) for a nice meal. It’s getting full on the campsite at the motel, all kind of campervans are lined up, ready for the crossing of tomorrow. We come across some familiar campers, we’ve seen them earlier on different other campsites.
We went for the royal treatment and are enjoying the roomy studio we booked. Nice to have room to move and to sleep in a different bed. I think our back’s will agree! Furthermore I’ve done lots of laundry (oops, I need to take it out of the dryer!!), cleaning the campervan hasn’t come of it. Never mind :lach1: .
What else … the trip we made today was amazing. I’ve got some photos on my camera, but that’s still in the campervan, we’ll see about them when we get home. P has put up some photos from today and also from yesterday, plenty to see. We’re getting more and more relaxed about thing, can you tell? :knip1: .
I’m going to close this now. We barely kept our schedule, but it’s making thing much more fun. The route on the map is out, but we make up for that when we get home, plenty of time then.
On a personal note: Dyan, can I give you a call on Saturday morning 9:30 your time? At least, I’m going to try, if it doesn’t work out, I’ll go and call on your mobile phone, oké? Luv U all, every now and then I get a little home sick, especially when going for a pee on the 25 cm2 bathroom in the campervan :sad1: …. :lach1: :lach1: :lach1: .
Greeting from the Windy City (yes, it’s true!!). (M) :sad2: (P)

PS, we saw a nice quote on the back of a van, I’m gonna quit smoking slowly, one lung at the time :lach2:
Don't put your mouth into motion, before your brain is in gear.

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