We’re travelling north to Hamilton to get our caravan’s hot water cylinder replaced the Leisureline factory – more on this saga to follow. Today we’re just enjoying the first part of our journey. The first stop of the day was Sanson, where Robin called in to the truck stop to top up the diesel tank. 45 litres later, we were ready to roll.
We travelled up State Highway One, through the small rural towns of the Rangitikei region, up and down hills with flurries of rain chasing us on our way. It must be lunch time, we decided, as our tummies started to rumble, and it’s certainly time for another stop and to stretch our legs. We pulled into the large roomy car park of Flat Hills Cafe, hoping that their famous hot roast meat sandwiches were still on the menu. This is a popular lunch stop for tour buses, and we noticed two large buses in the car park. Luckily most of the passengers had finished their lunches so there was plenty of room inside for us.
Yes indeed, the sandwiches were available. It was roast pork for me, and lamb with mint jelly for Robin, and they were delicious, with very generous portions of hot meat. With a piece of apricot shortcake each, and a Coke for him and a latte for me to finish, those rumbling tummies were happy again. There was a wonderful painting on the wall, by Julia Rosie Greig, showing a farmer looking out over his domain, with his trusty dog at his side. She had added the words of the poem “Flat Hills,” penned by the father of the original owner of this property.
Flat Hills is the dream land of the high country
Shepherd and his dogs exhausted from climbing the steep rocky mountains
Flat Hills is a curiosity, it’s a geological impossibility
A pipe dream of simplicity, brought to realityReplete after our lunch, we continued travelling north, driving through the Army town of Waiouru, and continuing along the Desert Road, The scenery changes from the tussock covered Rangipo Desert, a restricted Army Training area, to a tree covered landscape with an Alpine flavour. Towering over the changing scenery as we drove along were the three mountains Mt Ruapehu, Mt Ngauruhoe and Mt Tongariro, their tops hidden by cloud cover.
Our stop for the night was Turangi, at a rural small holding with free range chickens happily clucking away over the fence. The chance to buy a dozen free range eggs still warm from the nesting boxes was too good to pass up. Mmm, perhaps bacon and eggs will be on the menu for tomorrow’s breakfast.