Good evening everyone! S0rry, I’m a day late this week but lets not think too much about that! Tonight’s post is all about our first venture out of the town of New Plymouth to explore the North Island some more.
Our first real experience of New Zealand’s roads was the Forgotten World Highway, the state highway 43, which we joined on our way to Lake Taupo. Having spent the last year travelling Australia’s long straight roads, wide enough to fit two road trains on, the narrow windy lanes of New Zealand were a bit of a shock. The highway itself is only 150 kilometres long, linking Taumarunui to Stratford and passing through the village of Whangamomona, which declared itself a republic in 1989. We broke up the afternoon of driving by pausing at places of interest for photos and a picnic lunch before running into a New Zealand traffic hazard… hundreds of sheep on the road.
Having wound our way along the Forgotten World Highway we arrived in Lake Taupo, where we spent the weekend in a batch (or holiday home) my aunt and uncle had borrowed from their friends in a small lakeside town. The house had a lovely view of the lake, which we spent plenty of time enjoying in the evenings since my uncle had planned plenty for us to do in the days. Our timing was well timed (completely by accident) in order to go white water rafting in the upper section of the Tongariro Gorge, which is normally inaccessible. Twice a year they release water into the river from the dam and our visit that Saturday was one of the two. Jack and I hopped into a raft, whilst my uncle kayaked the river and met us again at the bottom. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of us rafting but it was so much fun, I loved every minute of it and would have happily gone down for a second time! Having tried our hand at rafting, that afternoon we took my uncle’s kayak out on the lake for a play around before heading home for an early night. The next morning we were taking on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing but more on that next time… Have a great weekend everyone!!