Our journey today took us from Taupo through Wanganui to Waitarere.
We travelled the Desert Road past Mt Tongariro and Mt Ngauruhoe and saw our first NZ snow. It’s also where we first realised the extent of logging in NZ. Clearfelling is conducted on a huge scale. The snow-topped mountains were very pretty but much of the rest of the landscape was bare.
We stopped for a photo with the big carrot at Okahune and then travelled down through the Mangawhero River Gorge towards Wanganui. This is a beautiful drive though a river valley and temperate rainforest. We stopped along the way to take photos of Raukawa Falls. We had a very enjoyable lunch at a Turkish restaurant at Wanganui, followed by a walk up and down the main street before hitting the road again on our way to Waitarere, north of Wellington.
Waitarere is on the Kapiti coast, and even though the road runs a few kms inland you do have that sense that you’re close to the dunes and the sea. We are staying the night at Dunes Homestay, a B & B on the beach at Waitarere. We love it, it’s just the kind of place we’d like to have on the north coast of NSW. Our room faces the beach with a deck that blends right into the dunes. The house is built right on the dunes as the name implies and there’s a gap that gives a great view of the beach and the water, with a walking track leading to the beach. The dunes are widely splashed with bright yellow lupins and purple daisies. The beach is fairly wild-looking. The sand is brown and there’s an incredible amount of driftwood and flotsam and jetsam on the beach. It’s great for walking but I’m not so sure about swimming. It’s probably fine in the summer when the weather’s warmer but right now it’s a bit too chilly. It’s overcast with the threat of rain so there’s not much of a sunset, but a lot of the comments in the guest book talk about stunning sunsets and it’s easy to believe with the property facing west over the Tasman sea.