It’s no fun hooking up the caravan, winding up the legs and emptying the waste on a Friday morning in the drizzly rain – so it’s lucky that the driver has to attend to that, isn’t it? Meanwhile, I was busy inside, locking the cupboards so that nothing falls out, and vacumning up all the dust, bits of grass, and cat hair which gets everywhere. It was goodbye to our fishing neighbour who was going home, and to the sheep in the paddock over the fence. I suspect that a family of pukekos were running around the rushes, as all sorts of birdy cheeps and chirps were uttered loud and clear.
Farm life over the fence
Then we joined all the trucks, cars and motor homes racing along SH3 as we continued on our trip. Before we knew it we had passed out of the Waitomo area and entering into the Taranaki region.
The trip over Mt Messenger was slow due to the curving road, but the outlook was so pretty with the hill tops shrouded in low cloud.
Road over Mt Messenger
Even though I was waiting patiently with my camera, the Mt Messenger tunnel suddenly appeared around a corner, taking me by surprise. The tunnel originally opened in 1916, and was single-lane, with a sharp, gothic-looking arch. The elegant arch was lost around 1990, when the tunnel was enlarged to provide two-lane access and to allow trucks with big loads to pass through. Mt Messenger is named after Colonel William Messenger, the commander of the garrison at nearby Pukearuhe redoubt during the 1870s and 1880s.
Mt Messenger tunnel
We are staying at Glenfern in New Plymouth for the next few nights, a park over property on a dairy farm, a place we always enjoy coming to. The hosts are always most welcoming and remembered us from our previous visit. Park up by the cattle yard, we were told.
At Glenfern Pop
Travelling to New Plymouth is just like a home coming to Robin, as he did most of his schooling here. We have already driven past his old home, Westown Primary School and New Plymouth Boys High School, and shortly we are meeting up with his old schoolboy chum, Gary. Robin talked about his happy years growing up in this area, doing typical boy’s stuff, playing sports and having fun with his old school friends.