Brrr – the night was freezing cold at Taupo, and we could see why when we peeped through the curtains. No wonder, Jack Frost had come calling. Muffy spent the evening cuddled up close to us on the bed, and we kept nice and cosy tucked up in our lovely fluffy Arctic sheets – I knew I hadn’t changed just yet to summer cotton sheets for just this reason. The gas heater soon warmed the van, and a hot cup of tea and poached eggs for breakfast soon put everything else right in our world. Once the sun had made an appearance, the frost soon disappeared. It promised to be a cracker of a day!
Campers are usually very friendly at these sort of places. One lady came over for a chat to say she was a full time resident of the Manawatu Caravan Club grounds and recognised us from our previous visits – that was nice of her. Waving goodbye, we set off on our day’s journey, first stop was the dump station. Time for a little rant here – we came across a young couple from overseas in one of those “Wicked” vans undo their waste hose and let the grey water drop all over the road as they slowly drove away. We soon caught up with them and told them that such behaviour was unacceptable in our country as it causes disease, and it was obvious they had stayed overnight at the dump station! Don’t know if they really understood what we were getting at, but they nodded and smiled, and we hate to think how they had disposed of their toilet tank.
After our blood pressure had returned to normal, we travelled up SH1 passing by Tokoroa, Putaruru and the funky little town of Tirau – that one in particular needs to be thoroughly explored, I feel. Next time, perhaps. The traffic was flowing well, except for one incident with a tractor travelling along at an impossibly slow speed for ages, before he finally pulled over. The truck driver just behind the tractor with a heavy load of logs must have been pleased to finally get some speed up, as the rest of the long tail of traffic was, ourselves included.
121kms later the Sat Nav told us we were at our destination. But were we? We had arrived at Horahora Domain, on the banks of Lake Karapiro. This is a freedom camping area, and cars, boats, caravans and campers were everywhere. It looked a very popular spot.
But we were looking for AJ’s Park at Maungatautari, a low cost park over property. And there was the gateway, at the end of the domain, just by the Ski Club grounds.
The owners were busy sitting on their ride-on mowers whizzing around their 5 acres of paradise right on the waterfront. Alan and Joanne were very friendly and invited us to “park anywhere”. Perhaps just here? We had the place to ourselves, but others could well be staying overnight as well. With water, shower and toilet available, plus that fabulous view, we were set for a lovely relaxing stay.
We enjoyed a late lunch, then spent the rest of the afternoon sitting outside just relaxing. Boats whizzed by on the lake, pulling people on water skies, and noisy groups of youngsters hooping and hollering as they skimmed across the water sitting in their rubber “biscuits”. Ducks and swans paddled serenely about in the lake, and birds chirped and sang in the surrounding large trees. I think we are in paradise!