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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Friday, 9 December 2022

Oh dear, it was the wrong place.

December 8th

 Talk about wake with a start! Dogs barking all around the Toy. Crikey were we being hounded by a pack of wild dogs? They do have a problem in certain parts of North Island but once we saw the farmer on his 4 wheel buggy, we guessed it was for a round up of the sheep. And if it hadn't been for the dogs barking, the sight that greeted us would have been missed, a fabulous sunrise with Mount Ruapehu and Mount Ngauruhoe standing proud in the background.

 So this morning Ian got hold of my passport, it's one of the new British passports with a black cover. We were leaving New Zealand and entering the republic of Whangamลmona. This remote little town is well known in New Zealand as the place that refused to be swallowed up by new zoning regulations in the late '80s and consequently declared itself independent.They even had their own passport control and during their Independence Day, no one could enter the town without one. My old passport was stamped 2 years ago, I had to have the new one done as well!

A sign welcoming us to the Republic greeted us as we drove in.

 We entered a ghost town. Not a soul about and the hope to have breakfast at the hotel faded quickly. And more importantly, how would I get my passport stamped? 

As we wandered about the place Ian went to find the public loo. A bit shocked at what he found.

Not even a door!
Seriously though, this wasn't the loo. I just thought to put it in for a bit of fun.

 There was no alternative but to leave disappointed but then a figure appeared. A lady who owns the only shop in Whangamลmona, a souvenir shop with a difference, everything is made in New Zealand or put together by New Zealanders. 

Stamping my passport. We handed over $2 to go to the local school children.

She was lovely, had a long chat about how the republic was formed. In fact this is what she gave to us explaining it all.

Driving away, there, standing guard over this tiny town, was a replica gun and next to it, a sign.

And a little further on

The final bit of this highway was full of twists and turns, lots of potholes, some washouts, rock slides but also evidence of repairs being carried out and completed. 


At Strathmore Saddle the view of Mt Taranaki with snow at the peak was stunning. We were to see this Mount many more times today as we travelled to Cape Egmont Lighthouse. Also one could just make out Mount Ruapehu (Top left) 


 At Stratford Ian topped up with diesel, well at $2.02 the cheapest we have seen, it would have been silly not to. As we drove through the town I took a photo of the glockenspiel clock tower.

And another Christmas tree with Mt Taranakito the right.

  From the start of our journey in North Island, the one 'must do' for Ian was to visit all four corner lighthouses. The last was Cape Egmont Lighthouse.

Okay, I know...I know... I expect I would be hounded if I had left the last paragraph as gospel. And you would be right to do so because we were actually at the Historic Cape and Light Museum! It was only by chance I found this out whilst sitting in the Toy doing a bit of research at Opunake beach front car park. We stayed the night, hardly anyone about apart from another of those sleeper cars (looks most uncomfortable) Ian was mortified, there was nothing for it but to go back in the morning to the right lighthouse.


And seen on route

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