We packed the van and headed north mid week, 350km up the west coast to New Plymouth. Stayed the first night at Wanganui, by the beach, that's about half way. Then meandered up through dairy country and into the foothills of the mountain with two official names: Egmont and Taranaki. Egmont is a very handsome volcano. He's dormant - but erupts on average every 300 years (last eruption 250 years ago).
It was a grey old day with low cloud and mist, but we put the boots on and did a short walk in the rainforest.
This is the Wilkes pools walk, at the end of the south Egmont road. It's a waterfall walk following lava trails, and was most mistily gorgeous. Had the place to ourselves and we enjoyed the rushing water and rock scambling and fantails flitting about us in the rainforest.
Camped that night at Fitzroy Beach in New Plymouth, and it was freezing when we got there. An icy wind - we huddled in the back of the van drinking tea and watching mad surfers and the setting sun. Then hopped it into town for Indian, and back to the campsite and into sleeping bags pretty early. The van is toasty warm once we get in the bags and snuggle down - both of us with layers on.
Carolski with beloved point and shoot at Wilkes Pools
Mish getting dressed real faaast next morning...
The van had developed a loud muffler rattle the previous day, and we'd had a garage look at it and cable tied a bracket. But when we stopped at the camp office to hand back the keys it was noisy as blazes. The guy from the office had a look and found we had broken a muffler connection.
This is him wiring it up before he sent us off to his mate, who welded it in 15 minutes and we were on our way, silently!
Next day, we drove round the mountain on the other side, had a visit to Pukeiti gardens and some rather large trees, and cruised home...