I haven’t done the trip from Auckland to Wellington for a long time. Yep, I was excited about the prospect of a trip South. We picked up the van we had to drive to Wellington the night before. It’s a little van with vinyl seats and not much leg room. Mr. Munro complained the van didn’t like going fast. He had trouble coaxing it past 100km per hour, which is our speed limit. After little sleep (we had a phone call at 2.00am – highly uncivilized if you ask me!!) we hit the road at six-thirty.
It turned out that the van wasn’t too bad for leg space and a towel stopped the problem of sticking to the vinyl seats. The van loved going up hills, which was a bonus, but on the down side it also loved to guzzle gas. We had to stop three times to refill during the eight hour drive.
The weather was beautiful, without a cloud in the sky. The iPod worked well and we drove with the windows down and the music blaring – well as much as Mr. Munro lets the music blare. He’s a fuddy-duddy that way!
We stopped at Lake Taupo, which is the biggest lake in New Zealand, and supposedly the site of the largest volcanic reaction the world has ever seen. You’ve probably heard me mention Taupo before. I like it very much and have some wonderful memories of family holidays spent there as a teenager. I pointed out the street where my mother received a parking ticket and where we went to the movies. The lake was flat calm and the trio of mountains were visible across the water. That’s unusual so we took photos.
We drove down the Desert Road and managed to take some great shots of the mountains. The Desert Road is mostly tussock, but parts of it are very sandy. During winter this stretch of road is often closed due to snow and ice. The NZ army do a lot of their training here before troops are sent overseas. The terrain is certainly challenging, and while it’s very pretty, I wouldn’t want to be there in the middle of winter.
The rest of the drive was through farm land before we hit the coast and the sea. The pohutukawa trees seem to flower later down here. The trees were ablaze with scarlet flowers. Pohutukawa flowers always remind me of Christmas. We drove into the central city of Wellington and found our serviced apartment without any problem. It’s very central – just a brief walk away from most of the tourist spots. We can even see a sliver of the waterfront from our balcony.
I’ve done a lot of travelling, and I think a person would have to go a long way to see better scenery. New Zealand really is a pretty country, not that I’m biased or anything.
Do you enjoy road trips? When and where did you take your last road trip?