Taupo to Wellington and the Desert Road… 3

Had a bit of a lie in yesterday morning – didn’t get up til 7.45! Decided to treat myself to not making my own breakfast so had a hearty one and set off for a morning walk up Mount Tauhara about 5 mins drive away from where I was staying. Thought it might be a good idea to stretch me legs before the long, long drive to Wellington.

The young woman at De Bretts Thermal Resort which had been home for the night either has no concept of what an hour is or was super fit in her “younger fitter days”. She said it would take “about an hour” round trip (the guide book was closer to the truth). Easily a 2.5 hr round trip taking into account rests and photo stops.

Like all good mountain tracks just when you think you’re close to the top… You’re not! (You’ll know when you *really* get to the top coz there’s a bloody great beacon). The 1.5 hr upward slog to the top was well worth the effort. I was rewarded with stupendous views of Lake Taupo and the surrounding countryside (and the fact that it was down hill all the way back and only takes half the time). Great walking through farmland for about half the way and then through lovely cool damp bush the rest of the way.

Mt Tauhara:

Lake Taupo from Mt Tauhara

By the time I returned I felt well stretched. Forward, onward to Wellington. But first a coffee / lunch stop. Nice place not too far out of Taupo called the Licorice Cafe about 3Km out of Oruatua (- for Jill – where I had a yummy steak sandwich). Suitably refreshed now felt ready to tackle the Desert Road.

What a fabulous drive (apparently Kiwis and that keen on it but I thought it was bloody fantastic). Lunar – like landscape in places and Mount Tongariro looming in the background the top shrouded by cloud. I was forced to stop several times to soak up the atmosphere and take in the view. Awesome! I didn’t have the time to do the 1 day Tongariro crossing (reputedly the best 1 day walk in NZ)  so it was good to get a look at it from afar.

Mt Tongariro (I believe):

Mt Tongariro from Desert Road, New Zealand

Another good coffee stop at the Up the River Creek Cafe in Mangaweka a couple of hours later. Finally, another 3 hours later arrived in Wellington. Made contact with friends I met last time I was here. Watched a local footie match on the telly before an early night (alas alack all those coffee stops kept me awake…). Up early this morning to meet up with said friends who have most magnanimously taken me in for the weekend despite having a very full house. Will have a very cruisy weekend here …

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