South Island Road Trip 10 - Taranaki and back to Serenity - 39:16.5S, 174:7E
The night after our whale watching trip it started to rain, and continued through the next day. We drove up the State Highway 1 from Kaikorura, which was only reopened just before Christmas following earthquake damage in November 2016. They are still working to complete repairs and in many places it was still one lane and slow going through the roadworks. We camped by the sea in a lovely campsite, but it rained all night and was still coming down in the morning, so we gave in and booked into a motel in Havelock for the next night. Luxury.
The next day we met old hashing friends who had moved to New Zealand 12 years ago and had a great catch up over coffee, then we drove to Picton where we were the only people in the ‘boutique’ cinema to watch ‘The Mercy’. There were 2 or 3 screens and you walked through the Aquarium to get to them. Ours had about 5 rows of seats. We had to move Serenity out of the river at Teignmouth when they were filming in 2015 (the film is set in the 60’s, so she is too modern): the film made Teignmouth look a very desirable place to live.
On Sunday the rain had stopped for our crossing back to North Island where we drove, with a camp at Whanagnui, to the Egmont National Park and Mount Taranaki. The mountain rises out of an almost flat plain and is a perfectly shaped volcano. The tramp to the top is 9- 10 hours, so we opted for a 3 hour walk lower down; still hilly all the same.
From a distance the perfect cone of Mount Taranaki dominates the view
Close up the peak is more forbidding
The legend of Mt Taranaki has a number of versions but basically says that Mt Taranaki and Mt Tongariro both vied for the affections of Mt Pihanga a beautiful volcano near Taupo. Tongariro won and Taranaki fled south gouging a wide scar in the land, now the Whanganui river, and settled in the west, his present isolated position. Here he hides his face behind a cloud of tears.
The ‘Enchanted Path was green and grotto like
With streams to hop across
And the highest swing bridge in the park.
Now our holiday is over, and we came back to Auckland with one overnight stop at a pleasant free campsite by the sea. We are doing some shopping while we have the chandleries and chart agents close by, and after Easter will be sailing back to Whangerai, where Serenity will be lifted out of the water to have her bottom scrubbed.
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