by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
The Rock-itt : May 2011
This month finds us on Highway 30 de- parting from the sulphurous environs of Rotorua on the way down the spine of New Zealand heading eventually for Christchurch. We were travelling two weeks ahead of the disastrous earthquake which hit the Canterbury area with such terrifying force. First stop today is at Tau- po, a small town unsurprisingly on the banks of Lake Taupo in the centre of North Island NZ; it’s the largest freshwater lake in Australasia. If you are at all inter- ested in Trout fishing you won’t need me to tell you any more about Lake Taupo, it’s trout fisherman heaven. We were in a bit ofahurrysoallwecaughtwasacupof coffee and carried on down Highway 1 taking in the sensational scenery of New Zealand. NZ is not a place to hurry, the roads are good but thankfully not condu- cive to speeding. About two hours after leaving Taupo we came around a bend and were astounded to find a DC3 air- plane hanging out over the highway! W e had reached Mangaweka, a lovely little town which is apparently growing into a major artist community. The DC3 is above the self-styled “Mangawega International Airport” which is actually a café and the base for the Mangaweka Adventure Com- pany. They will take you white water raft- ing on the Rangitikei River for an hour or four days if you have the inclination! Check them out http:// www.mangaweka.co.nz/ .The town of Mangaweka is well worth a look around, it’s historic main street has loads of inter- esting architecture. W e even saw a Gi- raffe!! I think we got a little lost after this, we did- n’t take the direct route to Palmerston North which is only an hour away but we meandered on Highway 54 slightly more east, travelling through Masterton and on to our overnight stay in Greytown. Not the most inspiring name for a town but as we had arrived on one of their hottest and sunniest days for many years it turned out to be quite pleasant. The whole town of Grey town straddles the main road which turned out to be quite a busy road with trucks rolling through all night. W e stayed at Briarwood House which was a lovely 19th Century building; it had once been the Carpenters workshop for the village and was very comfortable. It cost us $349 for the night, a bit pricey but nice and the town had good restaurants and bars. Up reasonably early because we had to make the Inter Island Ferry from W ellington de- parting at 1pm and we have a good friend in that City we needed to catch up with first. The last time we were here our mate Bevan who is a Dentist took us on a hunt to get whitebait. Whitebait is a major deli- cacy in NZ and Bevan made us wonderful whitebait omelettes, I can taste them as I write! Unfortunately for us we were out of season this time. The strictly regulated season runs from 15th August to Novem- ber 30th , woe betide anyone catching them outside of those times! The weekend we were in W ellington coincid- ed with a World Rugby Sevens Tournament. By the time we got on to the ferry to cross to the South Island at Picton it was clear that we were with hundreds of supporters who had been celebrating through the night! The Inter Island Ferry is not the classiest of trips, uninspiring food and generally a bit scruffy, it doesn’t match up with everything else NZ has to offer. Thankfully it does have a small business class lounge where for about $30 you can get a bit of peace and quiet. It costs about $65 each to make the crossing and if you have a hire car as we did you leave that at W ellington and pick up another at Picton. You can take your own car over though. The Ferry journey took just over three hours and we then had a two hour drive down the 157 kms to Kaikoura our next overnight stay. The weather was gorgeous as was the South Island scenery and under a clear blue sky we entered Kaikoura. This was not our first visit here which turned out to be a good The DC3 at Mangaweka International Airport, it’s actually just a café! The white hull and blue funnels of the Inter-Islander awaiting departure in Wel- lington.