The Forgotten World Highway

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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!!

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Crossing the Nullarbor

Turns out crossing the Nullarbor isn’t as scary as people would have you believe. Before we left we were given lots of advice (don’t stop for anyone, watch out for all the kangaroos, carry plenty of water) and some horror stories to replay in our heads again and again as we pitched our tents in free camps on the side of the road. So when we crossed the Nullarbor in three days without a hitch and only one kangaroo spotting we were a little surprised. Oh and we saw tons of trees along the way despite what the Nullarbor’s sign had us believe. This post includes some of my favourite road side photos and over the next week individual posts will be uploaded for separate places that we visited along the way.

Drive #4: The Whole Way Round

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This blog is named Hitting the Road with Jack and right now it couldn’t be more fitting. When we left Melbourne we set off on a longer road trip than either of us had ever been on before. During my time in Melbourne I had drawn up a rough plan of where I wanted to visit and what I wanted to see during the rest of our time in Australia. Over the weeks the plan formed into three main parts; the whole of October would be dedicated to the West, November the North and December exploring the East Coast of Queensland. One huge road trip. The drive from Melbourne to Norseman at the end of the Nullarbor (the one road to the west) was 2,698.9km alone. Pretty much driving from London to Moscow. News of our plan spread through the house and we were quickly joined by Filip, who jumped in at Melbourne and Mike who we picked up in Perth after he returned from Asia. In order to fit everyone in and all our camping stuff we invested in a roof rack and storage boxes, before piling ourselves in with spare water and fuel. Above is the rough plan of the route we have taken and will continue to take as we make our way back round to Sydney.

Drive #3: Adelaide, SA to Melbourne, VIC

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Our house sit in Adelaide ended yesterday and so it is time for us to move on. Our next house sit is situated in a suburb of Melbourne and begins on the 18th of April. The route to take between the two cities was an obvious choice: The Great Ocean Road, although we will be doing it in the opposite direction to most people. The route will be roughly 993km and again take around 12 hours to complete in one stint. As with the drive to Adelaide we are going to break up the journey over several days, so we can visit the coastal towns along the way. I have tried to be organised this time and have planned blog posts for the whole of next week so things should carry on as usual… Have a good weekend!