NEW ZEALAND, Taranaki area,
27 Feb - 1 Mar 2013
Including Taranaki area, Whanga, New Plymouth, Waitomo, Hamilton
New Zealand, Taranaki area 27 feb – 1 mar 2013, new plymouth, waitomo caves, hamilton, covering amongst others 145 selective slideshow images, whangamomona, te rewa and the te rewa bridge, douglas, forgotten world highway, state highway 34, tupare gardens, hallard gardens, kiwis, bbqs, cape light house, doves, east end beach, fruit wines, plum, boysenberry, whakatane, flowers, stratford, all things shakespeare, the bard, Glockenspiel town clock, otorohanga, opunake, surf highway, strathmore, mount taranaki, cape egmont, opunake, egmont national park, Mt Messenger, Matau, state highways 3 & 3A, visitors centres, Te Kuiti, rugby, hamilton gardens , taumarunai, whanga, wanganui national park, fitzroy beach, waiwhakaiho river, tupare house, orangery, ferns, sir ed hillary, top 10 sites, waikato river, Otorohanga kiwi house, bought kiwi as replacement for phoenix (lost original found in dressing gown 2019 stored in our garage ), greenslade house, hayes paddock, turtle lake, hamilton gardens, rogers rose garden, paradise gardens, Chinese scholars garden, japenese garden of contemplation, Indian char bagh garden, Italian renaissance garden, English flower and American modernist gardens, te parapara maori gardens. We were previously in this area in 2007 and then again in 2017.
Wednesday February 27th 2013
Summary, The Republic of Whangamomona to New Plymouth.
Set off along the rest of the Forgotten World Highway, State Highway 34. Climbed some very high mountain ridges and zig zag roads, with sheer drops to the river gorge and valleys below. Bit scary. Took lots of photos along the route.
There was a small hamlet called Douglas in the valley, mainly farming made is chuckle and take a photo for later doctoring especially for Mr. Douglas. The Forgotten World Highway ended at Stratford. All streets were names after Shakespeare’s characters from his plays. We went into the Tourist information centre and met the local lady MP.
The Glockenspiel town clock chimed several times a day, sadly we missed it as allegedly spectacular. Click on the link in the summary on the Taranaki page to get more details about this fascinating town.
We then went through Eltham , which is an old town starting circa 1912 and turned to go into Opunake, a black sand beach with poor surfing conditions which is odd because it is on what was inaptly names the Surf Coast Highway, ha-ha.
We then carried on the surf highway to Cape Egmont and saw a small lighthouse, with black basalt housing edging the Tasman Sea.
We arrived in New Plymouth where we had previously camped with the kids , we drove through the city and the main shops to the Top 10 site which cost $43 for the night. We the n went for a swim in the site’s heated pool, very nice and relaxing. We chatted to a local farmer who bragged about his cars, farm, motorcycles etc, Were we impressed, guess? He then told us he was paralysed from jumping from a great height into a pond, brawn rather than brain but we did show some sympathy.
Annie did wash in the laundry, a little black and white kitten was roaming around the campsite. We talked to some Aussies from New South Wales who were here on holiday. They were in a very tiny tent.
Thursday February 28th 2013
Summary, New Plymouth to Waitomo Caves.
Drove around the city centre and then visited the new wave design bridge called Te Rawa over the Waiwhakaiho river and board walk just north of the city centre. There were lots of landscaped parks and picnic areas. The board walk was used by both walkers and cyclists.
We then visited Tupare Gardens, In 1932 Sir Russell and Lady Matthews started to create a garden from a gorse covered wilderness on the edge of the Waiwhakaiho River around their family home. It was very steep as built on a hillside , there were nice shrubs and plants and it had been superbly landscaped. We liked it a lot.
We then drove to North Egmont visitors centre on a sealed road. Mount Taranaki as it is better and now know , using its original Māori Name rather than that bestowed by the Brits, is 2518 metres high. A dormant volcano which last erupted in 1755. It was covered in cloud today at the top. It was a very windy & winding road to get to the Visitors centre. In winter the volcano is totally covered in snow.
We then headed north on the 3a motorway and then the number 3 highway east. Many farms then the scenery got dramatically hillier around Mount Messenger. We stopped for a very late lunch around 4 p.m. at Matau for a snack. It was a very scenic route on highway 3 up to Te Kuiti, the NZ sheep shearing capital, we saw a few sheep on farms, all of which had very yellowing grass, it was a large town but realistically not much worth seeing so we drove through reasonably quickly.
We turned off for the Top 10 campsite at Waitomo Caves. Costing $41.40 so on the more expensive end but worth it. We had seen the glow worm caves before , use the link in the overview if you wish to see more.
The campsite was quite modern with both a swimming pool and hot tub. Had a swim, shower and cheese and biscuits with the lovely Plum wine we had got from the White Goose Winery near Whakatane. Yummy.
There were schoolboys in the cabins on an excursion, they were very noisy and that was added to by teachings trying to control them, and if I’m honest failing.
Friday March 1st 2013
Summary, Waitomo Caves to Hamilton. 30 degrees centigrade or 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
In the 5 years since we had been to Waitomo caves the area had changed a lot, the new Top 10 campsite, a café, tourist information office, and lots of other touristy things. Indeed, the area was now a Mecca for tourists because of the Glow worm caves.
We then set off for Otorohanga, we called in at the Kiwi House to get a replacement kiwi for Phoenix as she had lost the one Doug had bought her here back in 2008. In fact we bought 2 kiwi’s one chirps when you squeeze it, novel.
Saw the same noisy school trip again who had sadly landed at the Kiwi House, we left pronto. We then drove onto Hamilton, luckily our Sat Nav came in useful as Hamilton is a very big city, 2nd we guessed only to Auckland in size, Wellington feels more compact.
Sprawling suburbs in Hamilton and plenty of road works. We did a shop for food at New World supermarket. We then had a bit of a nightmare getting to the campsite because of the major road works improving Hamilton’s ring road. Annie did some laundry $4, and Keef prepared lunch. It was another hot sunny day . We then drove off to park near the Botanical gardens so we could do the river walk along to them. The campsite owner had told us where to park, very useful. It was about a mile walk to the gardens but fun however the views of the Waikato River were not great as it was totally overgrown with trees and bushes.
We found the gardens and it was free entry, which was nice. We saw a lot of roses then found the i-site information office and picked up a map of the gardens which proved very useful.
We then visited lots of individual paradise gardens including , with the Indian garden with nice Mogul architecture in a courtyard garden with a fountain and raised terrace. The English flowers throughout the Māori garden were interesting, plus gourds and kumara growing and lots of traditional wood carvings.
We then walked back to the motorhome; it must have been over 3 miles we had walked in the boiling hot afternoon sun in the end. We then returned to the Hamilton holiday park campsite, which cost $38 to stay at, we were both very tired. It got dark at about 8.30 p.m.