We left our campsite, where they ask you to check out. Useful to do, cos we (ie Rosemary) could ask them to go through their lost property and retrieve the items we (ie I) had lost. My bar of soap in Rosemary’s soap dish (which she’s apparently had for more than 25 years, but once lent to me…..) was duly handed over.
We were heading South to Lake Taupo to eventually camp in a basic DOC campsite. These are free and said to have a toilet. We are very hopeful we don’t have to use our onboard loo; it looks too complicated to contemplate late at night.
Our first stop was the fuel station, time to get used to filling when half full, previously I have been running it down to empty. In some parts of NZ, some guidance suggests you should always fill up whenever you see a fuel station. This was a practice run.
We headed off to Waio-Tapu the Thermal Wonderland. First off was the Mud Pool with wonderfully eruptions happening. At the actual wonderland, there’s a walk around the various coloured pools and bubbling mud caldrons which takes around a couple of hours. In parts, the walkways were heaving with people of all nationalities. In between the selfie sticks (old hat), and now the steady cams for mobile phones, I was able to grab photographs of all the devil’s pools. It would be lovely to access the site when no one else was there, and to be able to jump over the barriers for some close ups.
Our next stop was Wairakei Geo Thermal power station. Impressive array of massive pipes gathering steam from the thermal sources and transporting this to the nearby power station. We drove up to the viewing hill to look down on the whole operation. Impressive that this was started in 1958.
Next was the Huka Falls and Rapids. Again the area was thronged with people. The fast-flowing narrow channel is impressive. What was less impressive was the power boat which takes punters close to the bottom of the falls. Less impressive because it didn’t actually get that close. We ate our lunch while it performed its antics below us.
We drove on to Taupo, glanced at a few shops. I let Rosemary out to take a closer look while I studied the location of our next campsite. She came back shortly, empty handed.
Our destination for the night was the Clements Clearing campsite on the Clements Road in the Kaimanawa Forest Park. The road leads nowhere, as the Kiwis say it’s a “no Exit”. It’s a remote site, no mobile phone signal, no FM radio signal. There are various campsites in the area, this was the largest with, according to the DOC website, 30 spaces. There is a (very) long drop loo, in a v rickety wooden hut, a clearing and some heavy iron fireplaces around the place for you to build a fire. There was only one other group camping. All were dressed in camouflage gear. The man eventually said hi and asked us what had brought us here. Turns out they were here for the weekend hunting Sika deer. His dog ran around at top pelt with delight at seeing humans. R thought it significant that the dog was called “Ammo”. The forest is an old natural one, but interspersed with private land which is planted with conifers. My intention was to stay here a couple of nights, but I think we will be off early tomorrow to Napier, R being fairly convinced that if we stay there for long, we shall come to a sticky end and no one will know where we are or what happened to us.
When we came to leave next morning, one final visit to the loo found the biggest flies I have ever seen in my life. I pity anyone who had to sit down on the loo with the flies flying up from the dark depth. (Poor R!) I later pondered over how a hole that deep could be dug.