Another long weekend and even though we're off on our two week South Island tour next weekend, we couldn't let this one pass us by with so much of NZ still to see!!
This weekend we took a road trip, on what are considered two of NZ's 'Top 10 Roads'!!
First we explored the East Cape, taking the Pacific Coast Highway a mere 320km to Gisborne. This drive was not without its beauty……. and its drama! The site seeing consisted mainly of coast line (rather desolate), views of the active volcano White Island and Maori cultural sites. Then, half way through, in the middle of nowhere, or at a place more aptly named 'Hick's Bay', our radiator hose burst and started pissing fluid all over the road. Of course, being in the middle of nowhere meant no garage or parts until Gisborne. Luckily, a 'bloody legend' of a man called John came to our aid, with a random hose (that unfortunately didn't fit), a pair of pliers and much needed extra water. With the hose neatly bodged with Teflon tape and duct tape, we got back on the road, hoping it would slow the leak enough to see us through.
We abandoned the sightseeing at this point and focused on making it to our campsite by stopping every 10km to refill the water, continuing on to Gisborne, praying that despite being a Sunday, some shops would be open.
We stayed the night at a beach campsite next to the longest wharf in the Southern Hemisphere…..although randomly in the middle of nowhere and with no boats!
On arriving at Gisborne our luck turned, picking up the right hose (costing an arm and a bloody leg) then fitting it in the car park with John's helpful pliers before running it past McNamee's Garage. After a quick tour of the sites we made our way towards State Highway 38, across Te Urewera National Park, through what's appropriately described as 'a path less travelled'. En route we stumbled upon a little gem of a park where we stopped off for a picnic whilst observing some crazy cliff climbing goats.
Sunday night we stayed at a campsite on the shores of Lake Waikaremoana, in what was a lovely but cold setting… later discovering that the temperature was due to the altitude…a mere 580m above sea level.
State Highway 38 was 150km of remote gravel road, complete with Mountain passes, landslides, cliff edges, wild horses and spectacular scenery of NZ's native bush. Can I remind people that we managed all of this despite still not having 2nd Gear on the Space Wagon…….a great test for the South Island!
The trip in all consisted of 4 waterfalls; one that we squinted to see and the rest of which we climbed, slipped, got scratched and wet to get that all important Kodak moment.
All in all, it probably included all the necessities of a great Kiwi road trip.