Tongariro to Waiouru 

Day twelve


At 6am the Tongariro holiday camp felt like grand central. There were people everywhere getting ready for their day. Some finding new socks, some with old faithful, some grumpy and shouting, some queing for the kitchen, others queuing for the loos. The loos!   Outdoor mayhem that must leave the wildlife waiting in trepidation.

With all the carnage I decided to skip breakfast and brunch at National Park. I knew it was an energy risk, but by 6:30 am I was on the road… passing screds of European hikers untwidling their hiking poles with empty clunks and many a ‘ja est fue ‘. All waiting for a bus up to the Tongariro crossing. The same bus that inevitably wheezed its way past me on up the mount, full of pom pom topped jaja’s.

It was beautiful, crisp, blue and windless. A morning where the shadows are a deep pool of coolness and the sun thawing. I climbed and climbed, Mount Doom on my left and Ruapehu in advance, like a white sister looming over its smaller siblings.
I made National Park in two hours for beans beans, eggs eggs and hash browns on hash browns. Yes double everything. I figured if I could double my porridge I could double everything else. Stuffed full I fronted the chill mountain wind and humped south.

I got to Horopito and Smash Palace in good time, took the old bumpy coach road to Ohakune where I spent time considering my options. What do I do now? I needed to get to Napier via the Gentle Annie. So now it was all about considering time, food, distance and destinations.

If I stayed in Ohakune, I’d need to get beyond Waiouru before heading towards Napier. A tough ask considering the camp ground was at Kuripapango or the other side of the Gentle Annie. If I went to Taihape, I’d need to double back tomorrow and I wasn’t sure I had that left in the tank. There was really only one choice… Waiouru.

I humped on another 35km. Hot afternoon sun and a new Playlist.

Where have all the big guns gone?

Waiouru military base… the heart of all things in New Zealand that are pointy and go bang. I got off the main road in a vein search for food. I didn’t just ride through empty streets, I rode through streets without houses! Where has the Army gone! Where are all the things that go bang? Waiouru is a ghost town leaving me and three young mums waiting anxiously outside the four square looking for a way in.

The owners had obviously given up on customers for the day and driven off south to Taihape with the young mums in chase. As I couldn’t do the same, it was back to having indescribable things out of a packet for dinner.

But where has the Army gone? Are they all on holiday?  If so, why did they take their houses? Where did the three young mums go? Where are their houses? What did they have for dinner? So many questions pouring through ny head as I slaved over instant rice risotto for 10 minutes.

In the morning is the endless Rangatiki… the land the perfected the ‘hill’. Sleep well leggies for tomorrow may not be a good day. Night night bottom.

Todays top track: Kings of Lyon – Use somebody

3 thoughts on “Tongariro to Waiouru ”

  1. Hi Peter. Been busy and not got back to you. Washing yesterday while it was sunny and windy, and today it rained on and off all day so made more sauce and a sultana cake. I love your encounter with the heifers, they were probably saying “what another human on wheels”. As for the poor ram lamb he must have been terrified! I hear tonight you’re in Napier. You made it, well done! First stop a pub with lamb chops??? Do you think you’ll eat porridge for breakfast again? You know one can get addicted to it! Will catch up by phone on Christmas Day. Three sleeps (in a bed) to go! Janice xox

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