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  • Writer's pictureClaire

31/03/24 Ohakune to Tongariro National Park

Yay the sun was shining beautifully bright today and we can see the tip of Mt Ruapehu! So with even more snow on the mountain, breakfast was spent looking out over it. It was a pure delight. We did have to open the doors because it was so warm in the morning sunshine but in the best way possible! 

The other thing we discovered was that the clock in the house is a digital one that alters itself when the clocks change, same as my new watch and the old one along with all the mobile phones!  Shit for brains, that would be me, got that wrong too. Clocks only changed in the uk, not New Zealand. They change next weeeknd here. We were all so pleased to have an extra hour in bed and it was all a deep fake!! So no the clocks in the house weren’t automatic, neither were our watches and phones, the bloody times hadn’t changed at all.  (Insert eye rolls) 

Due to that monumental error on my part, we were much later leaving the house than anticipated, so a monumental decision was made to play the day trip by ear. We had two loose plans of attack, the first one do a trip up North, round Lake Taupō and back down through the National park to the house, that was around a 4.5 hour round trip without a stop off.  We set off, and just at the bottom of the road the house is on, we had the best and most incredible view of our snow topped mountain, after several photos we drive towards Ohakune and Morg made sure to keep all the sites on the right hand side bless him so I could get drive by photos as we went. Although to be fair he did stop quite a few times for me to get a static photo for a change!  He’s such a good egg. 

The scenery was absolutely breathtaking. The snow tipped Mt Ruapehu, was majestic in its splendour next to Mt Ngauruhoe with her volcanic pitted sides, and carved out riverlets.  Her  perfect conical top, daubed in all colours from vibrant red to dark brown, looked like it had been drawn on with a permanent marker against the brilliant blue sky.  Volcanoes fascinate me, they’re unpredictable, somewhat like my good self and as scary as fook!! Also not unlike myself.

We (that would be me) must have taken about two hundred photos as we went up the West side of the Tongariro National Park. The roads were pretty good, and by that I mean they weren’t too bendy and I wasn’t having to brake hard too often. Passing Lake Rotoaira and catching a brief glimpse of it we drove to Turangi, just below Lake Taupō for a coffee. The Ka Mate Haka, the Haka performed by the All Blacks, was created just a stone’s throw away from Turangi. Opotaka is a historical Maori pa site (fortified village) where you can learn about the history of the Haka, and see the remains of the Maori settlement. 

The coffee shop sold pies, and one pie in particular had Liv’s mouth watering. Steak and Stilton was her pie of choice, except they had run out, the devastation on her little face was plain to see. We had to cheer her up with sharing a caramel slice thing with me. It helped, but it wasn’t Steak and Stilton pie by any stretch of the imagination! Drinking up, we got back on the road, and decided rather than carry on up the west side of Taupo, we’d drive beneath it and back down the East side of the National Park. One or two things looked a little bit familiar to me driving down that side. Namely, the rather Splendid Mountains. When Morg and I were driving past them they were all covered in snow but the distinctive shapes from that East Side remain etched in my brain (amazingly) The strongest memory for Morg for that particular stretch of road was the military museum and base. I couldn’t even remember that! It’s a rather eye catching museum right in the side of the road, and it would have been clear as day to me as it was in my side of the car!! 

Turning off at the museum we returned towards the house, scoping out potential spots for epic sunset photos. In honesty just a few houses down gave us the perfect viewing point for that particular natural spectacle, so we didn’t need to go far! 

We’d lit the fire before we left and the house was still warm, fire just in and it only needed a bit of air under it and it was roaring away again. I got tea on, aided by my sous chef, Morg, he peeled and chopped, I stirred pots, between us we managed to produce a rather nice cottage pie, with fresh veg and gravy. Just what the Dr ordered for a cool Autumn evening!  It’s been nice to have a kitchen for a few days, I did think that when we get back I might try and be a little more organised and tidier in my cooking and preparation. However, having tried it for two days, I can confirm that I am far too old to change my ways now, I need to face facts, I am a messy cook and baker and I’m ok with that. Simon on the other hand, not so much bless him! 

Another lovely day, lots of laughter with the kids and Si, and just the best time, can’t fault it.  Our last day tomorrow, but the night is still young! 

Much Love. 


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