Day 5: Super Loo and van in a ditch

In Taupo we woke up to a beautiful view of Taupo Lake stretching before us for miles. It’s NZ’s biggest lake with an astounding 193km in perimeter. It was huge and pretty and it would all be perfect if it was not for dark clouds hanging low above us. It’s been pouring rain all night and there were no chances for a better weather, at least not today. That brought our spirits down, as our reason for coming to Taupo in the first place was a one-day hike in Torangiro National Park a few kilometers south. Tongariro Alpine Crossing is said to be one of world’s best one day walks passing right next to volcanoes and colourful sulfur lakes. Yet the clouds were so thick we could hardly see 500m ahead. We went to the information centre just to get confirmation that it was not doable and a lady with her cheerful voice told us it’d be better if we waited for the weekend. Yeah, right. We were a little bit down on morale and then we saw our miracle of the day… SuperLoo! For just $2.50 we could have 4 minutes of hot shower, unlimited amount of running water and clean toilets! It was a dream coming true right then. No joke. I know they are things we all take for granted in our every day lives, but living in a campervan doesn’t offer such luxuries. So we grabbed thongs, towels and toiletries and spent an hour getting pretty.

There was no chance for improvement in weather and we had to let go of Alpine Crossing. The only thing we could do really was hit the road and get to Wellington. There was no point in wasting time waiting for the rain to pass and there was a chance we would do the Alpine Crossing on the way back to Auckland, as we had to bring the campervan back there. So we spent a whole day driving south.

After 600km we arrived at Wairarapa, Northers Island’s primary wine region and decided to anchor there for the night. As we were looking for a place to stop we drove into a narrow gravel countryside road. We were hungry and tired and all we wanted to do was to stop and cook. The country road didn’t seem the right place for that though, so I put reverse gear on and started backing up. It was then that I saw Ale’s perplexed and scared facial expression, but it was too late. We felt the van being pulled to the back and falling into a roadside ditch. At first we thought it was nothing serious, but when I tried to get out we realised we were in big trouble. It was raining, the grass was wet and the wheels were spinning around undoable to get a grip of any surface. So there we were with van’s bum in the ditch and the car stuck all across the road. We tried to put branches under the wheel to give it some support and push the van out, but the van seemed to be laughing at our efforts. Thankfully a car arrived a few minutes later and a local man helped us to get the car out. When he tried to drive the van out all we got was a smell of burning tyres, so he went to a nearby neighbour to borrow a rope and pulled us out. What a relief! We already imagined ourselves sleeping in that ditch. The van on the other hand, surprisingly didn’t have a single scratch.



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