4/9/05 Lunch at the Grande Chateu in the Tongariro National Park. We had planned to hike and picnic - rain changed our plans. We'll drive further south toward Wellington and hope for better weather for our ferry crossing tomorrow. I just had "Bean Broth" soup for lunch - broth with pieces of barely cooked bacon , green beans, carrots and onions - mostly broth. This is the third time I've had bacon and they don't seem to believe in cooking it much. Too bad we can't see the volcanos here - from the pictures they are quite spectacular.
Alter leaving Tongariro we drove south for about 3 hrs to the outskirts of Welllington - the southern tip of the north island. Driving on the left is not nearly as nerve recking in the country , but as we got into the mountians the road s were narrow, curvy and there were areas that the road was one lnae due to landslide s on one side and the road sliding down the mtn on the other. High mtn pastures with cattle and sheep. I probably saw more sheep on that drive than in the rest of my life! Lots of boulder strewn rivers, waterfalls, pine forests, rows of tall slender trees planted as windbreaks - their leaves turning gold - the occasional palm trees are a surprising contrast. The highway dropped out of the mtsn onto a flat plain with a mtn range off ot our left - east. The road finally came to the coast of the Tasman Sea. We were hoping for a room with some kind of view and actually lucked into one with a view of a harbour and marina. We weren't being too picky driving along at 100 kms on the wrong side of the road in traffic.