After a few days at Tongariro and with a few days up our sleeves before we were due at Mowhanau for the Caravan Club’s Easter Rally, we decided on a little sight seeing.
First up was a visit to The Chateau at the base of Mt Ruapehu. Here we rode up the mountain on the ski chair lifts. We had been told that it would be $30 each but we found that pensioners get half price concessions so we could afford a light lunch up in the restaurant at the top of the chair lift. We arrived in beautiful sunshine with just a slight chill in the air. After about an hour, clouds started rolling over the mountain top and with it a distinct and rapid drop in temperature. It was time to ride the chair lift back down to the car park.
The highest cafe in New Zealand at the end of the ski chair lift on Mt Ruapehu.Summit of Mt Ruapehu.The view from the cafe at the top of Mt Ruapehu.We spotted Gypsy Rover below in the Ruapehu car park.
Leaving the mountains we headed for Raetihi on SH4. Here we were looking for a property to stay the night. Upon arrival there was no NZMCA club sign on the gate and the access was totally unsuitable for our motorhome so we pushed on hoping to find a suitable spot to freedom camp. This didn’t eventuate and we found ourselves arriving in Wanganui earlier than planned. A visit to the I Site office revealed 2 overnight sites in town. The first wasn’t suitable and the second we had trouble locating initially.
Alongside the I Site was a Tram Museum in a double bay tram shed. It was all locked up and is incomplete with no overhead electrical cables, I parked outside the pair of doors where I could see there was no tram parked behind them, waiting for the car park to empty of cars at the end of the day. Our plan was to move onto this area later in the afternoon. Shortly afterwards the Museum Curator returned and opened up the museum. After some discussion with this gentleman who originated from Chalfont St Peter which is only 10 miles from my old home town of Watford, he was only too happy for us to park up overnight. For his generosity we made some gold coin donations to the Tramway Museum.
The next day we toured the town on foot and found the other overnight site which was further down river than we had been led to believe by the old railway goods yard and Freightways depot. Returning to the motorhome we were planning on moving to this site but the museum curator invited us to stay another night as we were in no way affecting him. This offer was gratefully received even though the official parking sites are for one night only per annum.