Wanganui to New Plymouth
27.09.2009 - 27.09.2009
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Daylight savings start in New Zealand today. Now we are 3 hours ahead of what we would be back home. Losing the hour today was a bummer , but there was more light whilst camped at the motorpark before nightfall.
It was cool lastnight. The Wellington Rowing Club (juniors) are staying at the same camp ground as us. Wanganui is a big rowing city. They have a huge regatta in December. Rowing sheds dot the river banks here. The kids were up early for training. It was the girls who started early. The boys didn’t get in the river until after 7.30am. I spent sometime after breakfast watching them. Wanganui apparently doesn’t do Sundays. The market is held on Saturday and a majority of the shops are closed on Sunday. What to do then?
Something that was open was the Chronicle Glass Studio. A glass blowing festival is currently being here. There are about 30 glass blowing artists that live and work in Wanganui. It is a drawcard for the enthusiast. Mum and I walked around the gallery and watched the artists at work. I was especially taken by a lady whom was making glass beads. I brought some too.
The city centre is basically one long street (Victoria Avenue) with two way slow moving traffic. A lot of the buildings are federation in style. One was dated 1875. The standout here is the gardens. They are everywhere – lots of hanging baskets also. The city is immaculate, so the floral displays are the icing on the cake. While it is an artist haven the vibe here isn’t over the top arty farty. It is a big country town. The river is definitely the lifeforce. After a long stroll around we headed off on what the two boys have been looking forward to see, a dome volcano. Mount Taranaki (also known as Mt Egmont) is in the Egmont National Park. The Mount is 2,518m high and is dormant. You can ski here in winter. It has been raining abit, so there is not much skiing going on.
The Mount stands in the middle of a plain of sorts, in that it isn’t really flat but it is the most prominent feature. We drove up the Prembroke Road to the Egmont National Park carpark. There are a variety of walks that start there and some viewing platforms. The clouds moved in for the most part, but we got some stunning views. Nothing quite like this at home! The boys were very impressed. According to Maori legend, Mt Taranaki was banished to the West Coast from the Central Plateau after losing a battle with Tongariro for the heart of the pretty Mount Pihanga. Today is is a spiritual beacon for the Taranaki people. From where it stands is takes a commanding role in the regions geography and weather patterns. The region is full of nature reserves and the best way to explore is on foot. Maybe next time!
Just over 40km away is the principal city of the Taranaki region, New Plymouth which will be our base for the night. This is the home of the only deep water port on the west coast of New Zealand. Dairy is a big industry here as well as oil, gas and other petrochemical industries. The district around here is renown for the gardens, floriculture and horticulture. Mum will go nuts with the camera again. Rain is forecast tomorrow so we are not sure how much exploring we will get to do before heading off to visit the Tongariro Nation Park and it's sights.