It was time for another road trip – this time to Hamilton to take our Leisureline caravan for it’s annual service. By the time we were packed up, hitched up, and locked up, it was mid morning. But we don’t have to travel there in just one day, and have planned a couple of stops before we finally make it to Hamilton. There were plenty of heavy trucks on the road, but the professional drivers are not usually any problem – it’s the little old ladies who tootle along, slowing down at each corner, then speeding up again, who really upset Robin. And after we had noticed several convertibles driving south, we wondered if there was going to be a convertible car rally somewhere this weekend.
We got our first glimpse of the mountains as we approached Waiouru, although the tops were covered in clouds. The Waiouru Army Museum is a good place to stop for lunch – plenty of room at the back for caravans, plus the bonus of nice clean restrooms too. We have overnighted in the car park several times previously, but the temperatures can drop dramatically in the wee small hours at this higher altitude.
Lunch over, we joined the streams of traffic heading north, and carried on over the Desert Road, past Rangipo and Turangi, and through the many small settlements along the lake side. The sight of bright neon yellow flowers contrasted against dark green trees as the road continued down the hill by Waitahanui. Was it gorse in flower, we wondered, or broom? Whatever it was, the yellow was quite startling. (We later found out it was broom bushes in flower).
Pulling into the NZMCA Park at Taupo Airport we picked a spot, backed up, unhitched, wound the legs down, turned on the gas for the fridge, and set up the TV signal. There, all done. Meanwhile, the welcoming committee of one came calling.
We left the camp to attend to a few important things down in the town centre, such as getting the gas bottle refilled – Robin particularly likes to get this done in Taupo as he can get propane enriched gas here, it is not available down our way. Then we dropped our NZMCA Travel Directory off at a copy shop to get it spiral bound and finished with a laminate cover sheet. This change makes it much easier to open up and read, as the directory is classified as “The Bible” for those who like to travel near and far, and is chock full of information for members of places to stay.
On the way back to camp we stopped off at the lookout over Lake Taupo, and lo and behold most of the clouds had finally lifted away from the mountains. And there is some more of that bright yellow broom in flower, it’s everywhere.
Our friendly neighbours, Dick and Louise from Taumarunui, joined us outside in the sunshine for 4zees and we swapped travelling stories, as you do. They went off for a meal out to celebrate the end of their trip before returning home tomorrow, and we returned inside our van for a home cooked meal. We are travelling on to stay somewhere new tomorrow, so that will be exciting..