Caption: Taupo Huka falls
Từ hồ Taupo đến đường cao tốc sa mạc đến núi Taranaki. Cả hai đứa không ai muốn rời Coromandel, mặc dù không đi câu cá, một trong những họat động du lịch chủ chốt của vùng này, chỉ muốn thoải mái, ‘lười’ nằm trên biển, đọc sách, đi picnic, ra siêu thị đi chợ tối nấu cơm, sáng nấu đồ ăn sáng tại băng công. Đời sung sướng! Nhưng những con đường trên bản đồ đảo bắc đã bắt đầu kêu gọi 2 chúng ta.
Hồ Taupo rộng gần bằng cả đất nước Singapore nhỏ bé, đến Taupo nhằm lúc có sự kiện, cả thành phố đông nghẹt người, gọi mãi không có khách sạn nào, chui vào backpackers Blackcurrant.
We didnt want to leave Coromandel to be honest, although we didnt go out of our way to go fishing but we were drawn into the concept of being in a small town, near the city, doing walks and lying on the grass reading our books or chewing our picnic and having dinner at the lodge out in the balcony. Life was good. But the road was calling.
Initially we wanted to have options, I actually researched for the Desert Road as I remember in previous drive I was on the passenger side as always, on the way to Wellington via a scenic road it was desert looking. So choices were:
1. Taupo to Wellington via Desert Road
2. Skip Wellington and off to Napier Hawkes Bay – the region with 2 of my fav white wine: Cloudy Bay and Oyster Bay
Wellington was eventually out of the list due to a big ruby game, and from Napier to the west coast Taranaki region would take way too much of our time and we didnt have a lot. Eventually decision was made, we totally skip Welly and took the Desert Road to Wanganui for a break to lunch then to New Plymouth, estimate 6 hours drive.
lake Taupo, the biggest fresh water lake, or dare I say in Scotland it would be a loch, has the surface of 616 square kilometres, knowingly popular tourist and local location was in fact had a big public event is packed with families. Last min accommodation from all the travel books with cheap stays were fully booked. Luckily Blackcurrant backpackers still available or if you have 1,608NZD to spend per night on accommodation, you can ‘crash’ at this properties below at the heart of the famous Huka falls just before you enter the Taupo Central City called Huka Lodge Taupo. If fishing is someone you’re after, on the way out of Taupo along the lake, you’ll find the trout fishing communities , perhaps the biggest, gather along some of the smaller places with camping sites available.
Caption: Huka Lodge Taupo.
The weather was horrid, totally cloudy which beats out planned scenic drive, would have cost around 300NZD or so where they would take you around the lake and to National Regional Park Tongariro, the mount of Modor in LOTR trilogy. The park has 2 mounts to climb, relatively big size and great for camping – if the weather holds.
Caption: A tiny part of the Lake, from city centre perspective.
We took the Huka falls walk, not particularly challenging and the fall was not impressive but do bring swimsuit when you get to the hot water area, much like Rotorua with thermal water and hot spring, you might find some young hot looking guys there taking a dip or families kayaking along the stream and camping.
We soon found ourselves back on the road again and heading or New Plymouth after a night at Taupo.
Caption: Desert Road
While the thick cloud continues to cover all the sky and our view, we pursuit the Desert Road as planned. The GPS told us we were on the road so call Desert Road very early on from mid of the regional park. Local road authority claim its State Highway no 1, aka part of Desert Road, is the highest at 1074 meters above sea level, second only to the highest road in New Zealand near Queenstown (1076 meters) and you do see the changes in vegetation here. From green and farm land, the colour shade started to turn into yellow, golden, brown, alpine semi-desert where the military uses to practice their well military activities. Some road shoulders provide enough space for a short break for photo purpose. On a clear day, the view is probably better and colour of the desert would have picked up more, its dullness on the day we were there reminded me of Scotland. The straight road quite vast and awfully quiet, no sound of the sea, tree just cars on the highway doing 120km per hour.
Caption: Desert Road closes in winter season.
Now behind us was the park and we were heading towards Wanganui for a short break, but before we now it, we were off to another lonely road, it was really is lonely, off the printed New Zealand map! Moto Moto, our nick name for the GPS Tom Tom decided to take us on a journey through Valley Road, a shortcut, not to mushroom like in LOTR. I was puzzled to find the maps dont match up. We we reaching Waiouru at the end of the Desert Road, going off State Highway no.1 to enter no 49, a sharp turn took us down a different path.
Caption: Whangaehu Valley Rd
Valley Road was off my printed map, I was doubtful but not worried, we both seemed to trust the GPS and just stick to the guided route. There was nobody but us on the valley road until I counted 2 cars half way through the journey. It was narrow, very hilly, hills piles onto hills, sheep and cows comfortably gripping onto steep ups and downs pieces of land, road were partly unsealed and one side of the road was a volcanic aftermath green well valley. We were not sure if we are on the right way. No sight of any other 4 wheel drives but the occasional farm houses until an old man on his biking gear riding up the hill.
I was determined the Moto Moto was crazy. Extremely winding road with breath taking view and certainly noone can feel asleep on these stretch, there were parts I kept wondering what if there were another vehicle from the opposite direction, we would have the situation of 2 sheep trying to cross the river on that one way bridge.
Eventually the road joins the State Highway and we’re back once again onto the 100km restriction. When I google the visual for the road now, nothing really come up. It was obviously a very local route as we finally caught up with that man on the bike.
Caption: When I relook into the terrain view, I realised it was pretty damn hilly.
Wanganui is not a city where you want to stay over, it is known for gangster and we didnt think the locals were particularly friendly. We continued to drive a much longer road to reach to Taranaki region on the west coast, New Plymouth was the destination, the cloud and rain did dampen our spirit. We arrived late but summer lights still on, we took a walk on the bay. It was a long drive and we’re back with the sea yet again.
- Northland New Zealand, places I’ve been: Coromandel Peninsula
- Northland New Zealand drive, places I’ve been: Cape Reinga (Te wahi tutakitaki)
- Northland New Zealand, places I’ve been: Bay of Islands
How does this post make you feel?