Discovering Pukawa

It’s a grey, rainy day and the air is cool in Wellington, not holiday weather! But it will be good for travelling – it wont be a car sauna today. But less than an hour into the trip we are greeted with blue skies and sunshine.

We are heading to Pukawa, a small holiday spot on the South West edge of Lake Taupo. I have been to Taupo before but not Pukawa, I am looking forward to exploring a new place.

It’s a 4 1/2 hours car ride but we will make a few stops along the way, the first being a caffeine fix for Dad. Although we are travelling along State highway 1, our main highway, it’s not like the highways you have overseas – a lot of it is a single lane and takes you through varied landscapes. Coastal roads, country roads, a desert road and through forests.

Lunch is a simple picnic at Adventure Park in Levin. There is lots of playground equipment, including adult gym equipment. I have a good laugh at trying it out. There is even a human size ‘mouse wheel’. There were a lot of laughs on this one.

The next stop is to RJ’s licroice factory to pick up some essential supplies for the weekend, possibly buying a bit more than we need. We still have a long way to go so we jump back into the car and carry on.

We pass gorges and beautiful clear water streams, Taihape with it’s giant gumboot, the army camp in Waiouru before getting onto the The Desert Road. We didn’t see any wild Kaimanawa horses but there were some great views of the volcanoes- Mount Ruapehu, Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Tongariro which form part of the Pacific Ring of Fire.

The Desert Road is probably not a landscape that I would describe as beautiful, but it’s certainly intriguing. It’s vast and dry with scrubby bush. Simplistic, wild and untamed. A different landscape to what I am used to looking at.

As we approach Pukawa, Siri gives us direction to our holiday home but listening to her trying to pronounce some of the Maori names is rather entertaining. We past Steaming Hill, this area has a lot of geothermal activity and we can see steam rising up out of the trees. We get our first glimpse of the lake and it’s beautiful. The late afternoon sun is creating a golden glow on the water .

After a day of travelling, we arrive at our holiday home. And Wow. It looked good in the pictures but this place has exceeded expectations. Nestled amongst native trees and surrounded with birdsong, the place feels like a tree house. From the living room and huge deck there are views over the lake. It’s not long before we are making use of the spa pool, sipping wine and slipping into holiday mode as the sun goes down on our first night away.

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