The Scenic Route

Day 21 & 22: May 9 & 10 – Whanganui to Taupo

This is a stretch of North Island New Zealand that gets pretty mountainous.  Highway 1 is pretty busy and highly trafficked and the other roads going through this area are pretty remote.  So, I decided to catch a ride with my parents for this stretch and turn it into strictly sightseeing instead of cycling.

We drove the more remote route on Highway 4 and 47 up to Turangi, from there we picked up Highway 1 to Taupo.  This was a really scenic drive (especially along highways 4 & 47):

These hills were massive and went on as far as the eye can see!

These hills were massive and went on as far as the eye can see!

The white specs on the first hill are sheep

The white specs on the first hill are sheep

You can't tell in the picture, but about a foot on the other side of the cow is a cliff.  I'm still shocked how a cow was up here!

You can’t tell in the picture, but about a foot on the other side of the cow is a cliff. I’m still shocked how a cow was up here!

Some perspective on the side of the hills, in the middle of the frame are some houses nestled in the valley

Some perspective on the side of the hills, in the middle of the frame are some houses nestled in the valley

The town of Ohakune with Mount Ruapehu in the background

The town of Ohakune with Mount Ruapehu in the background

We drove up to the ski base area of Mount Ruapehu

We drove up to the ski base area of Mount Ruapehu

And then drove down the mountain a bit, grabbed lunch and hiked about an hour to a waterfall

And then drove down the mountain a bit, grabbed lunch and hiked about an hour to a waterfall

A boardwalk along the hike to the waterfall

A loooooooong boardwalk along the hike to the waterfall

On the boardwalk with Mount Ruapehu in the background

On the boardwalk with Mount Ruapehu in the background

Waitonga falls

Waitonga falls

 

Then we headed back down the mountain to our accommodations for the evening, where we were sent on a bit of a scavenger hunt.  Our accommodations had a note on the door saying their reception was closed and to go to another hotel in the area.  We walked the 1/2km to that hotel which also had a note on the door saying that their reception was closed and gave a couple of numbers to call.  Both numbers went unanswered, so we left voice messages.  We started walking back to the first hotel when they returned our call, told us the room number and let us know that the door was unlocked and the key was in the room.  Oh small towns! lol!

The next morning we continued our drive to Taupo.

Mount Ngauruhoe in the middle and we believe that is mount Tongariro on the left

Mount Ngauruhoe

A closer view of Mount Ngauruhoe

A closer view of Mount Ngauruhoe

Mount Ruapehu is the tallest of these three mountains and still visible!

Mount Tongariro – there is a 19.4km hike that you can take up this mountain, which we decided to skip

A thermal area in Turangi

A thermal area in Turangi

Areas of these thermal pools were bubbling, but it was hard to capture in a picture.  I did get a video of it tho!

Areas of these thermal pools were bubbling, but it was hard to capture in a picture. I did get a video of it tho!

Further up the road along Lake Taupo these 3 black swans came to greet us, looking for food I'm sure.  It was a little too close for comfort for me, so I made sure I was the farthest away!

Further up the road along Lake Taupo these 3 black swans came to greet us, looking for food I’m sure. It was a little too close for comfort for me, so I made sure I was the farthest away!

And then we drove on to Huka Falls which is a pretty impressive area with some powerful moving water

And then we drove on to Huka Falls which is a pretty impressive area with some powerful moving water

Huka Falls

Huka Falls

Some info on Huka Falls

Some info on Huka Falls.  I have to say, since Murchison there have been much more information posted at lookouts/towns/scenic stops about the history and facts of the location

In Taupo we went for a walk along the Lake and came across this golfing challenge

In Taupo we went for a walk along the Lake and came across this golfing challenge

Who thinks they can make this shot?

Who thinks they can make this shot?

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3 comments

  1. Mike Taylor says:

    Your photos are wonderful. I marvelled how different the North and South Islands are. Each day brought new sights as we travelled the country. Have you felt any earthquakes yet? We did feel a tremor on the South Island on our last day but there was a large quake a couple of months after we left for home.

    • admin says:

      The scenery definitely does seem to change by the day! I’m pretty sure I felt a small quake my last evening in Wellington. At least the building I was in swayed for a few seconds, so I’m thinking that was an earthquake. I had been told before I started the trip that earthquakes are common here, but it still surprises me how common they are!

  2. Chuck says:

    This was a beautiful route, to drive.

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