Friday, 8 March 2019

And plans have changed x lots

We had planned to do a trip to the Far North after a week at home, but our trip had to be foreshortened when David’s cataract operation was delayed until 21 March. We could still do the trip, we thought, so off we set to Taranaki to stay in Waitara Holiday Park which my sister Dee, her husband, son and daughter in law are running now.

While there, we had sought their advice on where to break the trip to be well-positioned to get north of Auckland; and were all set to follow that. But in the shower that morning, I realised that I wasn’t looking forward to so much driving over the next couple of weeks as the distances to be covered would mean that we’d be travelling every day and rushing around – inevitably missing things, not being able to stop at the brown signs and having to stick to a timetable.

So I asked David if he’d mind if we left the Far North until after we come back from the UK, and on this trip just go as far as Tauranga. He was fine with that, so we decided to head that way via the Forgotten World Highway from Stratford. The weather was so beautiful and the mountain was totally clear of cloud, so there was another change of destination and we headed up to the carpark at Dawson Falls, did a walk to Wilkie's Pools (across the swing bridge ...), had an icecream at the cafe, decided not to eat dinner at the Lodge, and stayed in the carpark for the night. For FREE!!!

It was such a gift to be able to park there. 

As a Taranaki person (I lived there from aged 2.5 to 17) I am a bit obsessed with this mountain ... When I was at Woodleigh School (primary), the view of the mountain from our playground was amazing, but it was ubiquitous and I don't remember noticing or remarking on it. Somehow though, it got into my bloodstream, and when I left home, I missed both it and the sea - especially as I moved to Hamilton, an inland city with neither a substantial mountain (I don't count Pirongia, sorry) nor the sea.
In the carpark, this was the view from the driver's seat. The closer peak is Fantham's Peak - it is a volcano in its own right. There is a very interesting exhibit in Puke Ariki (the museum in New Plymouth) about the history of the volcanoes of this province - it is definitely worth a visit.
The view to and across the Taranaki Bight.

Easy to see the tree-line - I am not sure what the height is where the trees stop, but I will get my on-site researcher (pictured) to find that out, in case I am asked by anyone ...

The path to Wilkie's Pools is wheelchair- and pushchair-accessible, and is very well made and maintained. DOC people are great at this stuff.

Fantham's Peak is out of sight but the summit of Taranaki is clear

The stream below Wilkie's Pools - there were no photos taken of the pools. That was for two reasons - mine was that I could not stop on the swing bridge to take photos (a bouncing child I'd had to ask to stand still while I was on said bridge); David's was that he spent a fair amount of time conversing with a Welsh woman who grew up just a few miles from where David's grandmother came from in Merthyr Tydfil
Sunset. Still a fair number of cars in the park - lots of people were tramping and had stayed in the mountain huts overnight. In the morning, I chatted with a guy who had climbed to the summit the day before and come down to a hut on Fantham's Peak, slept overnight (not much - there was a snorer staying too ...) and then come down before 9am. Such energy and fitness!

This was the end of the road down through the forest from the carpark, as we left in the morning - we didn't hang about for breakfast as, given it was another beautiful day, we knew there would be lots of people coming up. And it is a rather narrow road with few places for passing oncoming traffic. We had thought about having breakfast in Stratford, but just out in the sunshine where the treeline finishes, there was a good space to pull over off the road - I prepared a cooked breakfast and saved us at least $40 - yay!!

In the morning sun, the upper and lower boundaries of the tree-line are very clear.

Not easy to see, but to the right of the power pole is Mt Ruapehu which is in the middle of the North Island.

This is the view from the Public Dump Station in Stratford. Fence staples needs replacing, but hey ...

In the late afternoon, up in the carpark, while I was sitting outside enjoying the sunshine, David had the maps out and was comparing distances and travel times that resulted in a further change of plan (I sense a pattern here – again …) – we decided that we would come back via the Forgotten World Highway (always my preference as the mountain is in view on the way west) and travel up via North Taranaki.

So off we went heading on our way to another place suggested by Dee and Murray, on the banks of the Waikato River. But as we came through Onaero, I thought of the still 3-4 hours of driving, and decided I would far rather stop at Tongaporutu. So there we stopped – not just for one night, but for two!
Tongaporutu: I posted several times about this place late last year...

Drinks and nibbles with other campers - all of the others pictured live onboard fulltime. Please note thast neither of the women in the sunshine are actually a trumpian orange, but I lightened the shadows so people were visible. So Rose and Ann look slightly more colourful than in real life. Sorry, ladies.

This was the last of about 10 photos of the approaching sunset - be pleased I spared you those.

Mel with his new friend, Moosli who lives with Kevin and Marilyn from Egmont Village. Lovely people!
The river mouth - next stop Australia ...

High tide - perfect water for skiing. Where is my dad when you need him?

That water is so smooth that it is slippery when skiing.

 I think it is safe to say that I am obsessed with Tongaporutu, as well as with the mountain.

 Jim and Judy called in on their way back from Auckland and Hamilton, to have dinner and bring emergency supplies of chardonnay - I had run out the night before and was reduced to drinking riesling - shock horror!


Jennie said...

A good idea to take less on and leave the north for when you have more time, Marilyn. I hope all goes well for David on the 21st. Chris had his left eye done on 21st February. All seems to have gone well - he goes back this Thursday for a check up and to discuss when they will do the right eye. When are you heading back to the UK and do you have any cruising plans? Jennie x

Marilyn McDonald said...

Hi Jennie,
We are heading to the UK on April 25th, then to France for a week early in May, and then on to the boat. Our plan (always flexible ...) is to do the Thames Ring first up. Then I'm not sure if there is any plan - and if there is, there's obviously no point in considering it as anything like certain!

Where are you going to be boating this season?


Jennie said...

That is all up in the air at present due to the possibility of the second cataract op. We were supposed to be meeting Sue and Ken on nb Cleddau on 23rd April. From there we were going to Liverpool, then the Lancaster, across the Leeds Liverpool, then York before heading south to Lincoln having done the Chesterfield en route. Apart from the Lincoln bit that is all new water to us. We may have to miss Liverpool and meet them to head up the Ribble Link in May. As you say - all things are flexible! I think whatever happens we will not be near the Thames, so probably no chance of meeting up this year. Enjoy your time in France. Jennie xx