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Previous day see: Day 1 – Auckland to King Country

Day 2 – King Country to Wanganui

We woke up to rain. Then the sun came out. Our original intention was to help our friend with his farmwork in the morning, but as the sheep were already wet, they couldn’t be drenched, so we had a nice lazy start to the day.

Ongarue Back Road

About 11:00 am we made it into the car and off we went, along the Ongarue Back Road towards Taumarunui. The road is gravel all the way, but is generally easy driving with a good, fine surface.

Ongarue Back Road Rail Crossing

The road crosses the railway twice. The first crossing has no lights so you have to make sure nothing is coming – the second crossing has. As there are very few trains in a day it was quite a shock to find the crossing lights flashing. I think we frightened the train driver too – I don’t think he was expecting a small sports car to be waiting in the rain with its roof down halfway along a long gravelled road!

Manunui School Mural

National Park

Then into Taumaruni and on towards the Tongariro National Park. No-one seems to believe me when I tell them that there is a village called ‘National Park’ – but there is! The Overlander train stops there too. The weather was atrocious on this section – enough so that hubby allowed me to put the car roof up. We seemed to be in steady rain all the way through to Raetihi.

Whanganui River Road

At Raetihi we stopped for coffee, and to ask at the local information centre what the gravel road along the Whanganui River was like. ‘Fine’ they said, ‘You’ll have no trouble – oh – and here’s a leaflet telling you all about the things to see’. Well – I think they printed the leaflet in anticipation of opening the route to tourists. There is a portion of the road that has some of the roughest gravel we’ve ever driven on. And many of the places on the map just aren’t signposted – so are difficult to find. Even so, we had a lovely drive. The sun came out, and the car roof came down. There is a very pretty church and convent at Jerusalem,

Jerusalem Church

and some very interesting rock formations where fossilised oyster beds are now hundreds of feet above sea level.

Fossilised Oyster Shells, six metres up a cliff

Back on the main road the weather closed in again. We drove on into Wanganui, and found our stop for the night – the basic, but extremely clean and friendly Castlecliff Seaside Holiday Park – www.castlecliffwanganui.co.nz. The proprietors were fantastic, the bathrooms and kitchens were clean and had everything you needed. If the rest of the holiday parks we stay in are as good then we will have no complaints.

Dinner was a $9 box of Chinese Sweet & Sour Pork, chicken & egg fried rice, washed down with the compulsory bottle of sav. The budget is therefore on target.

Wanganui - Whanganui - What’s in an ‘h’?

There’s a big argument going on in New Zealand – and it’s splitting communities – nay –families. Is there an ‘h’ in Wanganui?

The river is called the Whanganui, the area around is known as the Whanganui Regional Park – but the town has always been straight ‘Wanganui’. The vast majority of the townfolk (around 80%) want it to stay as it is – but the regional council, Government and Maoris want to add the ‘h’. The latest compromise is that it has been agreed that people can call it what they like – but anything official will contain the ‘h’. Sounds like Authority won over popular opinion then.

SEE: Day 3 – Wanganui to Lower Hutt

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terris_travelogue/south_island/day_02.txt · Last modified: 2011/02/14 22:04 by tel
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