26 November 2008
From Taupo via
Tongariro National Park
to Porirua (near Wellington)
This morning I had my breakfast outside the campervan in the lovely sunshine and at about ten o'clock I left the Holiday Park for my day trip to Wellington. Again like in 2003 I drove alongside Lake Taupo and immediately after Lake Taupo Highway 1 reaches the Tongariro National Park. The road crawls around mountains and most of the corners have speedsigns with given speed between 15 - 40 kilometres so you can't hurry, but that is not a problem. It's a wonderful area to drive with wonderful views so who cares? And like everywhere else in New Zealand there is work on the road every 5-15 kilometres. The roads in areas with mountains have to deal with high temperatures in the day and very low at night. So they need to be repaired almost constantly. But it is always good to see a very friendly man with a roadsign which he turns form GO to STOP.
Enjoyed the views and made some photos, made coffee stops, even one in Waiouru on the Desert Road where a big army base is and where Sonja and I had a coffee too in 2003. It was a small road-restaurant from a Maori family ... .but .. .they didn't remember me (not that I asked).
Back in the car I left the Desert Road and then the road slowly got down to sea level. Near Bulls you get the feeling you are near the coast, but it is not seen and there the long road to Wellington begins. In Levin, where I had a nice cappuccino stop the extra cars from Palmerston North joined our stream so it became very busy on the road. Many traffic lights and many small towns with 50 kilometres and outside only 70 - 100 allowed.
Even though I arrived at about 16:30 at Poriroa, where I took a Powered Site for this night. I'm standing again at the Aotea Lodge, a hotel with many rooms and a great restaurant and only a few Powered Sites, but I was here with Sonja in 2003 and we liked the indoor swimming pool and the spa pool. The dinner is more than good and was served by personnel I remembered from 5 years ago. So I asked them if they were working here 5 years ago. And they both admitted it, so I was correct.
After this I spent some time on an internet PC that had such a bad connection to the World Wide Net that I stopped trying to load some photo's and went to the campervan to sleep. I sleep very well in the campervan so that is not a problem.
I'm now 25 minutes from Wellington and plan to climb Mount Victoria tomorrow, and further a visit to the Te Papa Museum and after that a ride on the Cable Car. At 18.15 I will take the ferry to the South Island.