We finished packing up the food, hooked up the caravan, said goodbye to the neighbours and left home just after 10.00am on Wednesday morning. After a short 75km trip and we pulled into Marton, our stop for the night. The Marton NZMCA park is a lovely little camp, not too far from home, and a good stopping off point when travelling northwards.
We needed a quick trip down-town to visit the hole-in-the-wall money machine. That was out of order, ran out of the folding stuff perhaps? Plan B was to visit the bank with a difference. Believe it or not – this is housed in four containers joined together. Seems that some work is needed to be done on the bank building, quite possibly earthquake strengthening. It may well be in a metal container, but it was lovely and cool, with two air conditioners roaring away. In the winter, the tellers said, the machines work just as well on heating to keep the building nice and cosy.
Back at the camp we beat the worst of the heat as we sat under the shady trees. We enjoyed our evening meal outside, and sat chatting while enjoying the cooler early evening temperatures. Various sized caravans and motor-homes rolled in during the day, with one late-comer arriving close to midnight, it was reported next morning. Not that we heard it, we were sleeping away like babies, after all that fresh air.
There was quite a crowd at the dump station the next morning, so we had to wait till everyone else had finished before it was our turn. Well worth waiting patiently as it is always sensible to travel with the waste tank empty and the fresh water tank full. And for goodness sake, don’t get the waste hose confused with the fresh water hose!
It was a longer trip today, just over 200kms from Marton to Taupo. But we just took our time, and the weather was glorious again. We drove up SH1 passing the Rangatira Golf Club where we had stayed several times previously, and under the Makohine Railway Viaduct
Then it was up and over the Desert Road. With all this hot summer weather, Mt Ruapehu just had a few touches of snow left.
Mt Ngauruhoe (7,500 ft) has an almost perfect cone rising 3,000 ft above the southern slopes of Tongariro, was completely devoid of snow cover. All the peaks of Tongariro National Park, was regarded as highly tapu (sacred) by the Maori. According to legend, the name Ngauruhoe – the peak of Uruhoe –commemorates the slave whom Ngatoroirangi, archpriest of Arawa canoe, sacrificed in order to add mana to his plea for fire to be sent from Hawaiki. When this arrived, Uruhoe's body was flung into the crater that bears his name. As we drove past there was a bus parked on a lay-by, with all the tourists standing on the roadside clicking madly on their cameras.
We arrived safe and sound at the Taupo NZMCA park, found ourselves a site, and settled down to a late lunch under another shady tree. The parachutists kept us entertained as they swooped down from the skies to land in the adjacent area. Most of them appeared to float down sedately, but a few, we noticed, came down so fast we feared for their safety. It all must have gone to plan as we didn’t hear any sirens from ambulances rushing to pick up the pieces of shattered bodies.
This camp has recently been extended so we will have a good walk around to check things out later on – when the heat of the day has abated. And we have to make the most of all this good weather, so have a BBQ meal planned for this evening. Nothing beats the smell of food cooking on BBQs, no doubt Robin will be watching the steaks cook with a can of Tui in his hand.