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Mt Ngauruhoe in the early morning

5 Mile Bay on Lake Taupo was just a stopover on my way to Mahia. But parked up on the lakeside was still something else. Taupo has something for all sorts of visitors, active or sedentary. At one extreme there’s the Taupo bungee, at the other, the Prawn Farm… where you sit under an umbrella with a fishing net on a pole and scoop out prawns. There are coffee shops, restaurants, galleries and knick-knack shops and of course, the Lake with all the water based activities.


I was a slow learner today. I did this twice.

I was parked on the lakeside, and after the spectacular sunset of the previous night I woke to a calm and pastel dawn. I really wanted to get a shot of Mt Ngauruhoe in the morning light, and as I stood by my tripod waiting for the cloud to reveal the peaks I managed to boil my coffee milk over twice.

Soon enough I was on my way to Mahia.

According to Google Maps the journey should take 3 hours and 20 mins, but I knew that this was impossibly optimistic. Even in a high performance car that would be optimistic, and I wasn’t in a high performance vehicle, I was in the Heems. There is not a single feature of the Heems that could be considered high performance, and I like it that way.

5 Mile Bay to Mahia. Click to open larger map

As the day progressed the rain grew steadier. I didn’t mind the rain at all; the farmers need it.

Dropping down into Eskdale I was suddenly surrounded by lush and level fields of vines, and I thought about the original settlers that turned the land here into fields instead of forest. They had come from England’s Lake District… here is its namesake .

From Eskdale the road mostly followed the old Napier-Gisbourne railway line, all the way to Mahia. The railway is an incredible engineering achievement, and I hope to bring you some pictures of it on my way back… unfortunately the rain didn’t allow it on the day.

Wairoa was the last town of any size before Mahia, and there was one thing I needed as a matter of some urgency… reggo’ for the van. I tried to follow the signs to the Post Shop, but kept ending up in the doorway of Hammer Hardware … so I asked there.

You know you’ve left the big smoke behind when the Post Office and Bank are on a counter at the back of the Hardware store.

It’s currently raining here at Mahia, and the forecast is that it will continue for over a week. That’s a bit of a problem for me as the main purpose of my visit is to film a sequence on the wreck of the Kurahaupo. We’ll have to see how things shape up… I haven’t written the script for that piece yet, or worked out precisely where I stand for each segment, so I have plenty to do even if it’s raining. Apart from anything else there are still over 80 other posts to write… so I won’t be twiddling my thumbs here.

For now, I’m going to progress Tasman’s voyage a little more… and see what the weather does.

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