Well my journey from Turangi to Whakapapa (pronounced Fakapapa) was interesting! It was in a clapped out mini bus being driven by Alfred who is 108 yesrs old. He moved from Manchester 55 years ago and was a hopeless driver, especially since he had to stop the mini bus everytime he wanted to change down to second gear! The journey took 45 minutes and I shared it with a furious couple from Holland who had waited ages for their transport and a couple of guys from New York who I had a canny crack with. Whakapapa is a tiny tiny village in the Tongariro National Park that is the home of Mt Ngaruhoe volcanoe and some spectacular emerald lakes. Unfortunately the weather is absolutely atrocious today with visibility very poor and winds in the mountains currently blowing at 50mph! Oh yes and it's raining as well so I had a sleepless night in my tent last night! I was planning to do the 3-4 day Northern circuit 'tramp' but the weather forecast is terrible for the next few days so I'm cutting my losses and getting the 2.30pm bus out of here and heading to Wellington.
Last night I stayed in the Whakapapa holiday resort which is a site used for camper vans and tents. It cost me $14 for the night. In the village there is also the 'Chateau' which is a huge splendid Mansion that is quite out of place here; a pub would you believe it and another hostel type hotel called 'Skotel'. Last night I had some fish and chips then retired to my tent because the weather was closing in, exciting eh! I do live life at the sharp end sometimes!
At breakfast this morning I had a chat with a Dutch couple; a Kiwi couple and a French Canadian Couple. I seem to be surrounded by French Canadians and Dutch at the moment but everone is really friendly, especially the Kiwis who go out of there way to be cheerful and helpful.
Speak to you all soon