The four day ICA Christmas Rally had come to an end, so it was time to head home. We decided to have an easy slow trip, and allow three days for our homeward journey. Our first overnight stop was back to Ngongotaha, in Rotorua, passing along the very picturesque road past Fitzgerald Glade. There is a nice cafe here, which we have stopped at previously, but not this time. We were aiming to get to Rotorua for lunch time.
Nearly at Fitzgerald Glade
The Ngongotaha NZMCA camp is always very busy. It fills up quickly during the afternoon, and empties out again each morning. Of course, some campers stay for days at a time, but we were amongst the overnighters.
Ngongotaha NZMCA Camp
Something obviously caught Gemma’s attention, probably a bird or two, and she peered intently out of the window. No, she is not allowed to chase birds, although she would dearly love to.
Let me out, Mum
Driving through Taupo the next morning we saw many cyclists taking part in the Annual Around the Lake cycle race. This race draws contestants from all over New Zealand and overseas and as many as 5000 cyclists take part each year. There are quite steep hilly parts of the road for the contestants to deal with, this is obviously a race for the young and fit. We noticed several rest and water stations along the way for the cyclists to stop at, plus an ambulance or two parked up, just in case medical help was needed.
Around the Lake Race
Once passed all the cyclists, we traveled on to Turangi, another nice roomy NZMCA camp. Not so many stayed here overnight. Fish and chips from the local shop were on the menu for our dinner, and then the rain and the wind arrived overnight, and shook the van around.
Our next night at Turangi
Driving along the Desert Road the following morning, I was thrilled to see Mt Ruapehu in all it’s glory. This isn't always the case, depending on the weather, so we stopped for a photo opportunity.
It was just as well we had stopped to take a photo when we did, and several minutes later the low cloud had rolled in, completely obscuring the mountain. The temperatures dropped, and we drove through the mist. By the time we reached Waiouru the weather had cleared. Our looked forward to coffee break didn’t happen, as the coffee cart was closed!
Pea Soup weather
Our final stop of our trip was at the Marton NZMCA Park, a very pretty little camp indeed. This used to be a former local council run camp in earlier times, and we remember staying here many years ago with our caravan club. We enjoyed the gifted trout fillet for dinner, I wasn’t quite sure how to cook it so pan fried the fish in a little butter – delicious.
Marton NZMCA Camp
From here it was about another 100km to home. As we drove slowly past Otaki we saw the multitude of patched bikies who had gathered here for the funeral of a high ranking gang member There was a heavy police presence on the road, with a helicopter flying overhead to keep an eye on the hundreds gathered.
We soon made it home, unpacked, stopped for lunch, and put the washing machine on. That’s it till our next trip away, and that’s coming up fast.