New Zealand: Wellington to Lake Taupo

We spent most of the morning on Highway 1 dodging heavy showers and getting used to the new rental car. The road runs by the coast for the first few miles before continuing inland. We had a brief stop on the windblown beach at Pukera Bay with Kapiti Island in the distance.

Foxton was our coffee stop and as this area is not very densely populated, reminded us of many places on the South Island. We were the only customers in the cafe at the time. Foxton was a New Zealand flax-stripping centre, has a Dutch windmill in the town centre and a beach. As we drove on, listening to music on the iPod, The Stranglers’ ‘Something better change’ came on and seemed very apposite given the political situation back home in the UK.

Sanson sits at a road junction and that is all it seems on the map, so finding The Ministry of Books was serendipitous. This very large shop is well-organised, has a huge selection on all aspects of New Zealand and many other subjects as well as some antiquarian volumes.

By the time we emerged with a couple of purchases it was raining very heavily. The next big road junction was at a town called Bulls. In addition to a large black bull sculpture, a notice welcomed visitors saying it is ‘a town like no udder’. The next town on our route was Waioru which described itself as an ‘oasis in the Rangipo Desert’ at 792m altitude. It is a garrison town and entry to much of the countryside on the road through the desert is restricted as it is an army training ground. We had our lunch at the rain-soaked summit which is at 1074m and noticed several military police vehicles, a fire engine and ambulance passing us on the road, red lights flashing. A rainbow appeared in the sky

but the torrential rain continued and only a mile or so down the road we had to sit and wait for more than an hour until the accident was cleared. We then descended down to the lake and alongside it into Taupo and our hotel but all we could see was the rain.

2 thoughts on “New Zealand: Wellington to Lake Taupo

  1. I’d love that Ministry of Books store….reading about that made me green with envy! 😜

    Sorry you had to wait so long for the accident to clear! I didn’t go to any of those areas when I was there. I went to Auckland, Waiheke Island and then a bunch of places further north: Cape Reinga, 90 Mile Beach, Rotorua, Black Water Rafting (I know that sounds touristy, but it was fun & interesting), Te Awamutu a.k.a. “The Rose Town” (and birthplace of the Finn Brothers, which is why I went there), Kare Kare Beach. I went to other places too – it was all so tempting.

    You have truly great sites to see further north! 🙂

  2. We have just arrived in Auckland and in a couple of days go to Rotorua. We probably will not get around everything as there are a few rugby matches to attend. I will have to do another trip in a different season

Leave a Reply