|From Otaki we drive north past Mt Ruapehu along the desert road. This is a desolate windswept piece of road backed by a huge mountain, except the mountain is covered by clouds. We had planned to hike the Tangariro Crossing along one of these roads but find out that all trips to the mountain are cancelled due to extremely high winds. We stop at one point on the desert road and can barely stand still the wind is blowing so hard, and later i have to dig the sand out of my ear just from 10 minutes outside the car. We stop at a place on Lake Taupo for desert in the afternoon and again lie out in the sun. In the evening we meet very informative and persuasive Greenpeace man who somehow persuades us all to support his cause - he was effective!