Taupo to New Plymouth
Today didn’t get off to the best of starts. The plan was to leave Taupo and head over to New Plymouth. I left the campground (Debretts, highly recommend if you’re staying in Taupo) and took the van in for a minor repair, he said it would take an hour, so I went and found a café and waited for his call. Four hours and big bill later I finally got the van back. I was hoping to get over to the Three Sisters and Elephant rock on the west coast at around midday. It’s around 3 hours’ drive away but because of the delay the tide will be coming in and I wouldn’t be able to get out to see them.
I take the drive over there anyway as it is kind of on the way to the nights planed destination of New Plymouth. The drive over is quite different to the east coast, its mainly just farm land, cattle farms to start off with, then turns into more sheep farms with a couple of paddocks full of goats until you hit the coast. Crossing over into the Taranaki region, I final get to the three sisters. The three sisters are 25m high rock formations just off the coast, there was originally four but now only two remain as the sea is claiming them one by one and late last year it also claimed part of Elephant rock. By now the tide had already turned and was heading back in. I grabbed my camera and ran down the river to the beach, hoping to get around to see them but unfortunately the tide had come in quite a bit and I could only see them from a distance. I have seen so many fantastic pictures of the sisters that I was hoping to get my own, but I’ll have to make another trip.
Further on down the road I see a sign for White cliffs walkway, I turn down the road hoping to have a nice evening stroll done the beach and check out the White cliffs, but same problem here, the tide. Even though it would be fine to walk a little way down the beach the last thing I want to do is get caught by the tide on the way back, so I just take a few pictures from the beach and head back to the main road. By now it’s getting pretty late and haven’t got anywhere to stay for the night. Just around the corner I see a sign for the Urenui Beach camp. Still 30mins out from New Plymouth where I was hoping to be for the night but its close enough. The camp isn’t too bad with nice clean facility’s and right on the beach. Time for an early night.
Another morning waking up to the sound of waves crashing against the beach. I leave the camp quite early and decide to play 9 holes at the golf course next door. For a 9-hole country course, the Urenui golf club is kept in very good condition and at $10 you can’t complain. I get up to the first tee off to find you have to hit over the road, only a small road but I still had to wait for a couple of cars to pass before I could hit, think it’s the first time I’ve ever had to do that. The first few holes didn’t go to good for me but by the 5th, which is supposed to be the hardest hole I manged to put my second shot within a meter of the hole and an easy putt for birdie. Was such a nice day, sun out hardly any wind and playing right next to the beach. The rest of the round went quite well, finishing up on 3 over for the nine.
Time to head to New Plymouth, the city is known for its surf beaches, Art scene, nice cafes and not far from Mt Taranaki in the Egmont national park. Its lunch time by the time I arrive so I decide to head to Pukekura park for a bite to eat and a walk around. This place is massive, I didn’t realize it was 52ha of dense native bush with walkways all through it, waterfalls, lakes, cricket ground, outdoor sound stage, great small zoo that’s free to enter, Tea house and so much more. I spent a good couple of hours walking around here but I could have spent a lot more. Really well thought out and lots to see.
Next up was a quick drive through the main street an over to the Fitzroy motor camp where I’ll be staying the night. After checking in and finding the camp is right on the Costal walkway, I decide to check it out. All up I think there’s around 9km of nice wide walkways along the coast, perfect for an evening walk, Run or even a cycle along. I head towards town, along the black sandy beaches edge, past the Wind Wand, which was made to celebrate the beginning of the new millennium, and then down to the port before turning back.
On the way back I notice a lot of old v8 cars cruising around and decide to head to the main street to find it had been blocked of and it happen to be Americanival day, part of the Americana weekend. Celebrating all things American, they were just to have a massive car parade through the main street. So, I grabbed a burger and sat down to watch the cars, new and old, school buses to custom hot-rods. Was great to see everyone getting into it and so many great cars.
Time to head back to camp, as I walked back along the costal walkway there was a little Summer popup bar and pizza place on the side, great little spot for watching the sun go down, the place had heaps of beanbags and sand chairs that you could move around to where you wanted to watch the sun go down and eat your pizzas. Another perfect way to end another day.