26 February 2017
The Wife’s away and shes taken the children (actually young adults) away and you are home alone. So what do you do?
You go on a road trip, thats what you do. And you take your best friend (camera) and your three legged companion with you.
This was the chance to take my 2001 SLK for a long drive and hopefully do some heavy braking before the many curves to try a get the squeech out of my discs brakes.
The plan was to leave Wellington in the morning, travel to Whanganui then take Highway 4 (the Para Paras) to Taumarunui.
That went well and I visited Raetihi on the way. I stayed a night in Taumaranui and that was an experience. It was a bit like NZ 50 years ago. Every thing closes early and there are only a few restauarants catering for travellers. There’s no pub and the only concession to the 21st century is a Scottish restaurant that is open 24 hours. Personally I’m not into big macs for dinner so I ate a typical kiwi meal as if I was in Wellington. I ate Thai and that was the only restaurant serving food after 7pm! It wasn’t bad at all and had some genuine flavours and genuine Thai women there as well….. I had just got back from Bangkok 3 weeks before having done another cooking course so I did approach the meal with some trepidation.
The next day I took highway 43 back to Whanganui. And what I drive it was! Lots of bends and no traffic-not bad for a Saturday. Even though there are some gravel surfaces, overall it would rate as one of my best driving experiences in NZ. I can say that because I don’t get out much. It was better than the Kaikouras in the South Island. It helps that my companions don’t get car sick as well. It was a sunny day so I had the top down, zooming along the straights and braking hard into the corners leaving a plume of dust clouds behind me. The Mercedes 320 slk is more suited for long fast bends than these short bends. A Mini or Subaru WRX would eat my car and a better driver would have far more smoothness and speed than this old man. Anyway I wasn’t trying to get the fastest A-B times and managed to stop to get a few photos as you can see next. These photos are more for a travel log and not intended to be photo studies.
At the Taumaranui side I discovered this lavender farm – Laurens Lavender farm. I had not been to a lavender farm before and purple is a colour I don’t wear very much. But I think I have a Deep Purple vinyl somewhere, “smoke on the water , fire in the sky….”
I dedicated a separate section to this farm as I did try to get some photostudies but it was difficult as I had the mid day sun and its bleaching effect with the overhead lighting didn’t help. The food, coffee and service was excellent and I recommend a stop here. My Host, Lorraine was very helpful allowing me to get up close and personal (to the flowers that is) as there had been cases of certain tourists damaging the plants. She also pointed out the wood pigeons to me in the near by tree which I managed to shoot….with my camera. Being a passionate Bird photographer….not.
Will it was a successful two day trip and I arrived back in Wellington 10pm the next night. I had another kiwi dinner at Whanganui. I ate Japanese….
The brakes don’t screech as much now and I probably will repeat the trip sometime later in the year, but going along the Whanganui river next time visiting Jerusalem.
1. 4 Feb 2017 Nikon D800 iso200 200mm f13 1/125sec Nikon 70-200mm f4
2. Moki Tunnel
9. Notice board in the Hotel. Definitely not politically correct!