66. Taupo to Feilding and Eketahuna

The Taupo Riverside Market on Saturday was wonderful, we stocked up with lots of fruit and vegs and I also bought a family history book by a local author which has since proved to be interesting reading – certainly not your usual family history. If we are back in Taupo one day I’d like to meet her!

Taupo does not have any suitable dump points for large caravans like ours so we went to one down at the south end of the lake, at the boat harbour. The view from  that end is quite different.

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Then south again heading for Feilding via dandelion-rich fields, pine forests and finally the Desert Road (for non-Kiwis, it’s a sort of tundra desert, certainly not like the golden sandy deserts of Arabia). Mt. Ruapehu and the other mountains came closer and closer, Ruapehu with some snow of course and Mt.Tongariro steaming fairly gently. It truly is a thermal landscape. (Photos shot through windscreen so not really sharp). 

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Half way to Waiouru the weather suddenly closed in despite predictions for another fine day.

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We stopped off at the Army Museum at Waiouru to deliver some more knitted and crocheted poppies, and by good luck met the co-ordinator of the project and were shown 4,000 of the 11,000 or so poppies which have been donated so far. They aim to get 18,166, one for every NZ serviceman and servicewoman who died in WW1. Among the thousands of poppies are a few white ones, representing the Chinese who served in the NZ Army, white being their colour of mourning.

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Also at Waiouru we saw a scale model of a WW1 Western Front battlefield, which is proposed to be built as part of our commemorations fo the centenary of WW1. It was designed with the help of Sir Peter Jackson and is scheduled to open in 2016 in paddocks at the back of the museum. Here are some photos of the scale model showing the incredible detail. I do wonder though how the very muddy trenches will be represented in the full scale model. Surely not with real mud.

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At Feilding we joined up with Graeme and Barb and spent 2 nights at a POP in the grounds of the Coachhouse Museum. I missed exploring this museum but Dave said it was wonderful. We spent several hours at the Feilding Library and at last I was able to get off several blogs all at once, with another almost ready.

The traverse of Manawatu Gorge next day was quite different without the strong wings that buffeted us last time. Parts of it reminded me of the Taieri Gorge railway near Dunedin. The wind vanes on the hilltops were quiet.

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