Taking the alternate route to Taupo is a brilliant way to see more of the country and has the added advantage of having next to no traffic. It will add about an hour to your travel time but as Robert Frost says, taking the road less travelled will make all the difference!
My Waitangi weekend started with a note inviting me to a child free weekend away with James. Bliss!
Instead of heading down State Highway One (the most direct route to Taupo) we got off State Highway One at Glen Murray Road and wound our way leisurely through Otorohanga and Te Kuiti.
As we drove James kept sending me directions to my phone. The funny thing was that he was driving and knew where he was going and I was not driving and was hopeless with directions so it really was more the thought of a treasure hunt rather than me doing any actual real navigation.
What I loved about this most was seeing places and things that I had never seen before. And it wasn’t just the big things that stood out it was the little things we found on our way. From the amazing houses…
To the deserted houses high on hills on roads that no one seemed to drive through….
To the birth place of Colin & Stan Meads….
To the endless countryside filled with sheep & monumental dams that sprung from seemingly nowhere…
It was a magic drive and I was somewhat disappointed when James said that we have arrived at our destination – Taupo – I could have happily kept driving along untravelled roads all day.
We did the same on the way back up the island too…
We stopped in at Wai-O-Tapu just in time to see the geyser erupt at 10.15 on the dot – we didn’t go into the geothermal area having already filled our geothermal quota the day prior. An amazing experience – if nothing else for the fact that there is an amphitheatre filled with people waiting to see soap tipped down a geyser to make it erupt.
We stopped in at Rotorua for brunch at the lovely Picnic Cafe – perfect for a yummy brunch if you are passing through…
Travelling up past Rotorua, we stopped at my favourite piece of road in all of the country – Fitzgerald Glade…
When I was a little girl I went here with my Grandma and got a little toy white lamb (called rather imaginatively Baa Baa Black Sheep) so, feeling some serious parental guilt by now we decided to have a look and see if they had anything for our girls.
They did and we got this – my youngest has called hers MJ Funny Looking (much better than my name I think) and so the tradition continues.
The shop there is a cute little place to stop and break up the trip (they have pigs for the kids to look at too) and the new owners seemed super helpful and the store well stocked.
Coming out of Te Aroha we saw the impressive Wairere Falls. We stopped for a photo but didn’t have time to hike up there but that is definitely on the list of places to explore this year.
So there you have it – two may to take the alternate route to Taupo to Auckland to take the road less travelled – I would thoroughly recommend them both!