Friday, October 11, 2019

Whanganui to Lake Taupo

A friendly Maori woman running a campground on the North Island corrected my pronunciation of "Taupo" back at the start of our trip. "Say 'Lake Topo,'" she smiled. That was our destination today, several hours of driving (a lot for us on this trip), mostly in weather that looked like this.

This rear end looks like Art's old Jaguar Mk2, but he identified it as a Daimler. Handsome car either way.

Taihape town hall

Today's route (click here to view map if reading in email):

Here we're traveling north on the east side of Tongariro National Park, and the magnificent Mount Ruapehu wants to show off but the cloud ceiling is too low. The rain and fog stayed with us for the duration.

We'd been ascending slightly and our ears were popping. I check in with Art's altimeter app to see we're at 3000 feet.

At about the halfway point, it's time for a bathroom stop, a stretch, and a visit to the coffee hut for an on-the-road flat white. This was an exceptional coffee, freshly ground from her bean funnel.

On Lake Taupo we find a brand new motel studio that has everything we need except an oven. The hob (cooktop) is over on the right, one smooth piece of black glass with no dials--only digital hieroglyphics that one pushes, in my case with zero luck. I had to get the proprietor to show us how it worked. "We would never install this type of hob again," he confided on the walk to our unit (no kidding, I said to myself, clearly not the first person to ask).

Without an oven, we cooked the lamb in that awful teflon electric frypan. The sweet potatoes too, because I couldn't get the stove-top to work.

It all came together in the end. We're spending more time driving than walking these days as we make our way toward Auckland for a Wednesday departure. We're here tomorrow, though, and we'll have a good long stroll along Lake Taupo.

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