Well for a closed camp ground there was a lot of toing and froing from 4X4's. Well into the evening they came, possibly dog walkers or fisherman perhaps? Anyway what a peaceful night, we woke to birdsong and the sound of the trucks using their engine brakes to slow down, they were heading in the direction of the road closure.
Breakfast had and an alternative route now had to be found. There was a dirt track road that bypassed the closure, it meant having to back track a few kilometres and take the Pohangia Road leading to Mount Richard where, by rights, a right turn at the junction would then put us back on the original Pohangia Valley East road.
What fun driving this road, great views, a few washouts and some slips, plenty of sharp bends and another weight limit bridge. Oh, and we were chased off by two dogs. It was because of Ian's excellent avoidance driving that the dogs were not run over!
About 20 km along this road was where we wanted to turn off and as we went to turn right, guess what, road closed again!
Only other option was to head toward Apiti, along another long gravel road. Gosh more and more slips were seen and at one point we just about missed a load of sheep as a dog brought them out through a field gate.
I suppose we should have guessed something was about to happen as a farmer on his quad bike was seen tearing toward us. My deduction was he would get the farm gate open and be ready to meet the oncoming sheep being brought down by his dog.
Well we ruined his whole plan. Those sheep, instead of coming towards us, legged it the other way. You could almost see that poor dog wondering what to do next! Back came the farmer and hurriedly closed the field gate, whistled to the dog to bring them back and watched in awe as this working dog rushed past the sheep and got them turned. Then with a cheery 'sorry' he went in hot pursuit after the dog.
Got to Apiti, looked like a ghost town with not a soul about.
Now our plan was to turn right again and this time make for Mangaweka. 2 km outside the township we were met by this!
|The only two roads north and east out of Apiti....closed!|
All routes closed to us, we had no idea what to do. Along came a chap in his pickup, explained the bridge had been washed away and said the only way to get to the SH1 and Taihape was to head south, back through Apiti, and follow the back road to Mangarimu and Ruahine for another 60 km or so. Well this was another road with lots of slips. We even had young bullocks to contend with. Almost a replay of yesterday!
Just before we reached the SH1 Ian spied a sign for Mangaweka power house. It also had an alternative route to Taihape so we did no more than turn onto that road.
The power house was a good walk away so that idea was abandoned. It was by now late morning, shops had to be found and we still had a long drive ahead to reach Taupo. What was seen from the road was the dam. I went to get out of the Toy and almost came a cropper! The chalky cliffs had deposited so much wet slippery stuff no grip was to be had from my jandles. Ian was the one to take the photo.
Finally made it to Taihine, shopping done, late lunch had and off along the SH1. Such a pleasure to drive along a proper road. Mt Ruapehu was seen, the highest mountain on North Island.
We never did get to Taupo. Stopped at a Kaimanawa camp site just before reaching Waiouru. The track down to the camp ground made us wonder if we were at the right place. When we did arrive Ian expressed concern if it may be just too remote, but not long after setting up camp we were joined by three other vans.