It was time to say goodbye to our friends and Awakeri Hot Pools, and start making our journey home. After pondering over the map, we planned to break our journey for our last night and stay at ABBA Motor Camp, Taihape. (The camp was so named because it is situated on Old Abattoir Road). However, since we were last here the camp has changed its name, and and now called Taihape River View Holiday Park. You may park anywhere, we were told. As there were just a couple of tents in camp, we were spoilt for choice, and parked up overlooking the river and the papa cliffs. It was a pleasant afternoon for a short walk down to the lower level to see what was over the other side. The white cliffs contrasted against the dark green foliage of the native trees.
Far across the river we could see a brown cow standing guard while her cream coloured calf rested in the sunshine. They must have seen us watching them as they slowly moved away into the shadow of the trees. A few sheep wandered by, baaing loudly, as sheep do. It was a very pleasant and peaceful rural outlook.
Taihape is known as the “Gumboot Capital of New Zealand”. Why, you might ask? In March every year Taihape hosts Gumboot Day. Gumboot throwing competitions, gumboot marching, and games are all keenly competed, while music and stalls add to the rustic ambiance. Gumboot Day was first held in 1985 to entice travellers to stop and see what Taihape has to offer, and has been a hit with the public ever since. Gumboots are compulsory foot wear in the farming community and as Fred Dagg sang in his immortal song, “Where would you be without your gumboots?” The huge corrugated iron sculpture by Jeff Thompson is the icon of Taihape, and many visitors like to stop and have their photo taken beside it.