New Zealand 2016 – Road from Auckland to Tongariro

With a day’s driving practice under my belt, I left Jono and Auckland for the open roads, views, and hours of the North Island. My first planned stop was into its central, volcanic mass, to Tongariro National Park.

Before I could reach it, however, lay 345 km of new, tiny towns and unexpected pit stops to conquer.

I’m always compelled to take photos from the road, despite their seeming dullness, monotony, or car-window-pigeon-holed frames. The drives are always so interesting to me, a crucial party of the traveler’s story, the jerky, shifting background of the play that lets you know it’s time for a scene change.

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(5 March 2016)

10:43a – Mount Eden, Auckland – Setting out. Later than I meant to be. As usual.

GROCERY LIST – coffee/tea, milk, yogurt, bread, cheese, spinach, granola bars, trail mix, toothpaste, floss, WATER, ziploc bags, avocados, mayo/must, prepared soup, pasta, tupperware

1:20p – Open road.

1:54p – 94 km/h; Built to Spill; salt + vinegar rice crips.

2:15p – Ngaruawahia: love it.

3:35p – A rest stop. I’m flagging. I’ll stretch my legs and lens, eat a thing, and hop back in the car. 

9p – Mangahuia Campsite, Tongariro National Park – My first night in the campervan doesn’t feel as homey as I wish it did. My throat is scratchy, and I’m tired from a long-haul day in the car. Tomorrow I am hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing. It’s 19.4 km, and I would be lying through my recently chipped teeth if I said I wasn’t nervous. I am super nervous. What with recently getting over pneumonia, and this annoying cough I’ve been sputtering, I’m kind of scared. But I’m going to do it anyway and hope I don’t die, embarrass myself, or puke all over. 6:50a we meet. 7a we leave. Oh dear.

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Next up: Tongariro, one of the most amazing places I’ve ever seen.

Be well, my loves.

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