Peeping outside the caravan at 7.00am rewarded me with a wonderful view of Mt Ruhapehu in the early morning light.
Mt Ruhapehu in the early morning
And then the mist came down, which was just as pretty, with the sun trying to peep through.
Then the mist came down
With the morning chores done of emptying the waste water and topping up the fresh water, we were on our way. Some decided to stop of at Horopito Motor Wreckers to see the thousands of cars in various stages of being wrecked. The NZ films Goodbye Pork Pie, Smash Palace, and more recently Hunt for the Wilderpeople have had scenes filmed there.
Our first stop of the morning was to view the place where the final railway spike was driven into the Main Truck Line at Pokaka. We had seen this fleetingly out the window on various train trips, but never actually visited the memorial by road.
Then a little further up the road was the lookout for the magnificent Makatote Viaduct. Last time we passed this way the viaduct was covered in plastic sheeting as it was undergoing repairs and painting. The new paint looked great in the sunshine. The viaduct was completed in 1908 and is 77m high and 262m in length.
The lookout at the Makatote Viaduct
The sleepy little village of Raurimu was next on our list of places to stop and visit. We remember posing in front of the tiny station on our last steam train trip up to the spiral.
Raurimu at the foot of the spiral
We had heard tell of a horse sculpture made entirely of horse shoes tucked away in a tiny place in the middle of nowhere – certainly well worth a visit. Off we went, along a steep, windy, narrow country road for 18km to finally arrive at Kaitieke. Sponsored by the Wheeler Family and the local community, the sculpture was erected in 2015, the Year of the Horse. It commemorates the horse history in Kaitieke and the ANZAC Centenary, acknowledging the contribution by horses to mankind in earlier times of war and agriculture.
Wonderful horse sculpture made of horse shoes
Bill and Val had arrived shortly before us, and we decided to have a picnic lunch in the sunshine. But the wasps were so pleased to see us and share in our lunch, that we quickly moved back inside our caravan.
Lunch at Kaitieke
Our stop for the night was the NZMCA site, Piriaka Park. The entrance was a bit tricky, and necessitated a sharp turn off SH4 and along a dusty track. Our other travelling companions had arrived before us. But there was no time to spare, once we were settled on site, the gas and the fridge turned on, we jumped into Bill’s car and drove back to Owhango Park. There was no way we could have visited earlier with both caravans in tow.
Pillars of bridge at Owhango Park built into huge rocks
Two happy campers on the bridge
The four of us had intended walking along the lagoon boardwalk, but we weren’t quite sure where that particular track started. So we had a pleasant walk in the bush instead, admiring the tall native trees, and the abundant ferns everywhere. On the way back to camp we stopped at the Piriaka Lookout – great views down the river valley.
View from the lookout
Arriving back in camp just in time for 4zees, we settled down with the others and related our day’s travelling and different adventures. Piriaka Park covers quite a large area and the several chickens came to visit us from the adjacent house.