Distance Travelled: 325 km (229 km driving, 96 km ferry)
Total Road Trip Distance: 809 km
21st – 22nd Nov
We arrived at Picton ferry terminal nice and early for our 8am ferry. We ate some cereal in the queue before driving our beasting motorhome up onto the ferry. Up on deck we got ourselves a table and I went and took some photos of our journey.
It was a pleasant and smooth crossing. I was told sometimes you can see seals and dolphins but I saw neither. But it got us there did our trusty boat.
On the north island we drove round Oriental Bay to Roseneath and found ourselves a beautiful parking spot for some lunch.
We walked back around the bay to get to the centre. We grabbed some coffee in Red Rabbit Coffee on Leeds Street of all places before doing a spot of window shopping in Wellington’s many independent traders.
Afterwards we went to absorb some Maori and NZ history from the fantastic free museum, Te Papa. Split into multiple exhibits we learnt about Maori history from the treaty exhibit before heading to their most famous exhibit…
Being a country that knows its natural disasters well, it has a lot of information about volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis. The piece de resistance is the earthquake house.
Having experienced a real one, it was harrowing to see the damage that can be done. You walk into this small mock-up house and they show you a video of people describing their experience of an earthquake in Edgecumbe in 1987. Then the house shakes. It’s all rather terrifying knowing a large proportion of the population have experienced something like it in some manner. There’s a sign at the entrance advising those that lived through the Christchurch quakes may find it brings back painful memories, and that sends home how real this is in NZ.
On the roof of Te Papa you can see out across Wellington. It is often known as Windy Welly and, although it may look like it’s a lovely day, it certainly lived up to its name.
We went back into the centre to grab sone supplies before finding a happy hour for a drink and some snacks. Then we walked back round the bay to our motorhome.
We set off north to get to our campsite for the night. I had used my app and found a campsite in a place a few hours north called Mangaweka, not too far from Lake Taupo. It had two sites but the draw was the fact thar in the secondary one they had the cheapest powered site we could find.
We arrived in the pitch black and found a sign saying to go to the main campsite across a bridge to the other side of the river. We did this and found no-one. There was a sign saying to pitch up and they would collect the money in the morning. Probably could’ve done with putting that sign the other side of the bridge.
Back over the bridge we found a plug, plugged in, cooked, ate and slept. The next morning we awoke to some fantastic views that had passed us by completely in the dark.
We showered and got ready and I had a wonder around. We filled our motorhome with water, found the lady over the bridge (after we’d phoned her four times, she clearly didn’t want our money) and headed off once more.
The campsite is sat in a valley on a bend in the Rangitikei River with those steep white cliffs surrounding it. It was really quite a sight. With cheap rates, gorgeous views (pun intended) and all the facilities you need it was a great find. They run rafting and kayaking excursions that would have been great if we’d had more time but we had to plough on.