Over the next 48 hours Gareth drove about 800 miles. It was huge - but great fun!
We started off with the idea of driving to New Plymouth across the country, but as Helen's Mother had shown an interest in the volcanoes south of Taupo we thought we'd investigate. The weather was dire, but then it pretty much always is, and you can't let these things stop you can you? So (Maps out) we headed down Higway 1 through the national park, past the two volcanoes (I'm not even going to attempt to spell it from the top of my head! It's such a shame because the visibility was so bad at altitude. We've tried to take photos, and we hope you like them, but really, they're not great :-(. Mind you, some of them are quite dramatic in the rain!
This area is called Desert Road - which we could see why. It is very much like the stretch between Vegas and LA. Just raining too.
From there we cut across and then took highway 4 down to Wanganui. From there we bounced up to New Plymouth on Highway 3.
We were really looking forward to seeing Mt. Egmont (Mt. Fiji lookalike), but we just couldn't see it!
It got silly - even we we got really close we still couldn't see it - the rain was still giving it some! So in frustration we left the main highway and drove right towards the (now dormant) volcano. Even as we started going 'up hill' we still couldn't see it. We started climbing up and up, going past 'Alpine lodges' but still we couldn't see anything that resembled a mountain or a volcano. We carried on up and started winding up this really steep hill. Where is this damn thing??
Then we turned a corner, and just below a load of cloud, we saw the base of this thing. It it is HUGE. Almost frightening. You suddenly realise that you are at the bottom of a massive volcano of which you can only see the bottom. Then the road ended and all there was was a dead end carpark. It was soo huge at the base that it was almost too much to look at. Thoughts of Mt. St. Helens were flying through our heads. We got photos then got down to the base. It really spun us out. Gareth felt very relieved to be down on the ground. It was very sureal up there. Too much was left to the imagination!
From there we headed up to New Plymouth.