New Plymouth, Within Site of Mt Taranaki. Sure its there . . .
16.10.2010 - 21.10.2010 19 °C
Rain or shine......make up your mind.
We actually did find some other kind of weather. Snow, hail, sleet and YES we did get some sunny weather for brief periods too.
Round Rock at Three Sisters; The Actual Three Sisters; Three Sisters Tunnels; "Belly Buttons" at Three Sisters; Scooting around the Rocks; Beach at Three Sisters; Three Sisters; Three Sisters
On a sunny Saturday morning we packed up our camp in Otorohanga and headed south down the coast to the town of New Plymouth. Along the way we stopped at “The Three Sisters” a beach spot that sports 3 fascinating rock formations that have endured the waves and weather. Arriving just at the tide switch from low tide to high tide, we grabbed our flip flops and headed down a river mouth to the ocean. The banks of the river were studded with caves and very unique rock protrusions, all absolutely wonderful to look at and explore. The truly amazing thing about this location was indeed the three sisters. Sporting their own caves, these free standing rock structures were wonderful to look at and explore. Very aware that the tide was on its way in, we started to head back up the river mouth to the car park. After forging through very cold water and experiencing a number of falls on slippery rocks, we arrived back at our kiwicar refreshed and glad that we brought a first aid kit with us so that we could clean up and bandage up the scrapes and cuts received on the rather slippery river rocks!
Claire and Paul in Camp Kitchen; Ayden getting Schooled
From Saturday Oct. 16 to Friday Oct. 22, we set up camp in the Top 10 Caravan Park in New Plymouth New Zealand. We decided to head to New Plymouth in order to hopefully get a chance to see and climb Mount Taranaki. Also known as Mount Egmont, this 2518m high volcano is notorious for the game of hide and seek that it plays behind cloud and rain and also for the unpredictable weather changes on the Mount. In keeping with its true nature Taranaki was covered in cloud on our arrival. Rain and sun have been playing tug-of-war in the sky for the entire time that we have been here. But, have no fear, the Allores, the every willing trampers, would not been scared off by rain clouds!! On Monday we headed to the North Egmont access point. We arrived at the access point with the sun smiling down on us. We quickly ran into the information centre to get vital information about hikes routes when Claire came running over to ‘the parents’ and declared that it was snowing outside! Indeed, within the time frame of 5 minutes the weather changed from sun and blue sky to dark clouds and snow, to sleet and then to hail. Following the wise suggestions of park rangers we headed down the Mount not having had the chance to set foot on a single hiking path. We were all a bit dejected.
From this point our time has been spent dodging rain and snow and making the best of the sun when it does come out. During the rain and snow we take advantage of the great indoor space at the Caravan Park and do some home schooling. When the sun pops out we try to get out and see something of this area of New Zealand.
Singing Bridge; Coastal Walk Bridge, New Plymouth
Within a 5 minute walk of our caravan park is an access point to the New Plymouth Costal Walkway, “the world’s best environmental project”. This is a beautiful walkway that is very well maintained (Concrete path) and right next to the ocean. Braving the wind and rain we enjoyed the unique bridges and beautiful scenery for about 1 hour. Then, all a bit cold we headed back to the camp kitchen for a warm lunch and the opportunity to complete some math classes.
A perfect rainy day activity for us was visiting New Plymouths free Puke Ariki Museum. This museum not only tells the story of Mount Taranaki and its’ volcanic eruptions , (last erupted 250 years ago. This is not a dead volcano but rather a sleeping volcano. It is not a question of if it will erupt again but rather when it will erupt again) but also about the history of the town and the Maori people of this area.
Large Tree in Pukekura Park; Claire in Pukekura Park
After the museum we headed to the Pukekura Park and Brooklands Zoo. The zoo was tiny, but also free and fun.
Mt Taranaki . . . Really; Our Best Mt Taranaki Photo; Hiking Mt Taranaki in Snow and Sleet
On Wednesday Oct. 20 we woke up to strong winds but a beautiful blue sky. We quickly ate breakfast and then hopped into the kiwicar to head back to the Mount. As we drove we were thrilled to see that the clouds around the mountain were slowly lifting. Anticipating a sighting of the entire Mount we drove to the Dawson Falls access point to attempt once again a hike on the Mount. We parked our car with the sun shinning down and the ability to actually see some of the snow on the top of the Mount. With happy hearts we headed out on the Dawson Falls hike. As you can probably guess, within 5 minutes of starting our hike it started to sleet. Being very determined we layered on our coats mitts and hats and continued on our tramp. Equally as determined the sleet kept pelting down making the walking path more of a stream. Cold, wet and falling due to slippery stones, we decided to detour back to the kiwicar. By this time the Mount itself was disguised once again by fog. As you are probably realizing by now, the rangers were not joking when they say that the weather on the mount is very temperamental!! Cold and wet we headed back to our caravan park to warm up with a delightful lunch of Thai Curry. This curry was shared with us by another park guest. She and her family are currently living in Thailand so that their daughter can learn to speak Thai. While cooking Gwen and the ‘mum’ (can’t remember her name) were sharing cooking ideas and stories. When her curry was done she served up a huge bowl for our family to enjoy. It was simply delicious and will, if Gwen can replicate it, become part of our meal repertoire.
As we come to the end of our time in New Plymouth we are glad that we were able to get so much home schooling completed and are also looking forward to our next adventure with the Cronsberry Family at Tongariro National Park, the home of Mount Ruapehu. We hope that this mount will be more agreeable in letting us see its splendour!