Okay a late start as I woke up at 9.30 am, despite being the one complaining it was too late a time to leave. My motto must be do as I say, not as I do.
The coin took us to Cambridge and then another toss saw us leave SH1 and head towards Te Kuiti. Sort of hoped to make Taupo and/or Napier but the coin rules all.
Kihikihi had a trucker’s diner which we thought was ideal for a big breakfast. And in fact they had a menu option called “big breakfast” so how could we not choose that. The owner was a real character and when she saw us eating some lollies while waiting for the breakfast, she confiscated the entire bag until after the meal, telling us she doesn’t want us getting a sugar rush on her! Classic, Their bacon was world class – a great breakfast.
I told her that the Greens want to ban the sort of food she serves, so that is one less vote for them. She said she didjn’t think the truckies would want to eat organic tofu for breakfast, so I told her not a problem as the Greens want to ban trucks also!!
Went through Te Kuiti. No sign of Bolger to
run over greet. Then a major intersection to decide between SH4 to Taumaranui and National Park and SH3 to New Plymouth. Tails won it for SH3 and had a wonderfully scenic drive to New Plymouth.
Got to New Plymouth around 2 pm. Time for another coin to decide between south to Stratford or all the way around Egmont. The long route won (one of the few roads I have never driven on) and around we went. At Opunake stopped at the public library to say hi to my friend Andrea who is a librarian there.
Just out of Hawera we came across this sign of Trevor Mallard declaring it was open Mallard season. Certainly is in Auckland where he has called them visionless. Way to win people over Trevor.
Also came across the William Birch baths. We didn’t have time to have a swim to honour the great man, but took a photo instead!
Passed through Waverly (no not Claire Chithan, even thought that would be far preferable) and hit Wanganui around 5 pm so decided to stay there the night. Found The Grand Hotel, just across the road from Michael Laws and the WDC.
The Hotel is a lovely old hotel. The standard room is only $70 a night. I am innately suspicious of any room which is in double digits only, so asked if they had other rooms. They said there was a suite for $150 so I grabbed that. It turned out to be an unbelievable bargain as the suite was almost as good as the $1,000 ones in top Wellington hotels. It had leather couches, spa bath, board room table, the works. Highly recommended for anyone passing through.
By chance the hotel also had a quiz night on so we had a couple of drinks at the bar, answered some questions and then headed to the Chinese restaurant, Beijing, down the road, The host, Eileen, was lovely and we had a great meal.
After that we decided to go find some nightlife. However it was Wednesday night in Wanganui and I am not exagerrating when I say it was quieter than a native forest – at least they have the birds singing. As we walked along the road to the main strip, it was totally silent. No people, no music, no cars – it could have been a town wiped out with the plague. Even on the main road there were only two bars open and both sparsely populated.
So headed back to the hotel and ended up throwing a couple of dollars into the slots agains. Wow dod I hit big – for a $2.40 bet I won $136!! So my room only really cost me $14 for the night.
So a pretty good night in Wanganui all up – my first stay there since a 21st around two years ago.