Leaving the NZMCA Park in Hawera it was time to complete our circle of the mountain and head towards the small town of Stratford with the first night to be spent at the A&P Showgrounds. Arriving later in the day we were stunned to see over 60 vans already parked there. It turns out that two other groups where in town. 40 plus vans from the North Island Rotarians who had spend the week here. As well as 20 Good News Vanners making a stop here on their own safari around the area.
So it’s just as well that the showgrounds have plenty of space in fact there was room for another 60 plus vans. @$5 per van with power available for a small additional cost it’s also very reasonable. The only small drawback to staying here is the proximity to the main road and having the railway line running alongside the road so a bit of noise at times.
With a bit of rain later in the evening I was able to capture this shot of a rainbow touching down on the roof of the motorhome. Even though we have owned the motorhome for over a year I still love taking photos of it.
That evening I joined Lois and Dick for a game of cards getting soundly beaten. They have only recently brought their Autotrail Dakota but are really enjoying it.
The following morning as we prepared to head into town for an explore a group of us standing around chatting were horrified to see a couple take their grey water canister to the fence and then empty it onto the ground. This with 60 other motorhomers looking on. Since our safari leader is also an area chairman for the NZMCA he quickly involved himself in the situation and it will be one of the first cases to be heard under the new complaints procedure. At the time of writing we haven’t heard a result.
We had picked up a brochure that listed some walks in the Taranaki region and there was a walk around the town to see the historic buildings here. It was a sense of deja vu when we parked outside King Edward Park fancy two parks within 30 kms of each other having the same name.
This is the last of the gardens that we have visited in the Taranaki area and even though I am not exactly a keen gardener I have really enjoyed our walks through these gardens and would recommend to anyone in the area in October/November that these places deserve some of your time.
There are a number of Victorian buildings around the town and the heritage walk takes around 45 minutes to cover these. In our case we finished at the Glockenspiel tower which if you time it right, and we didn’t, gives a musical display at 11am, 1pm and 3pm so that’s a job for the next visit.
From Stratford it was time to head for the mountain everyone had agreed to be there by 1pm so we could have a group BBQ for lunch and Dave had absolutely guaranteed that the weather on the mountain would play ball. Although some doubters amongst us were already planning their return to Stratford should Dave’s promise fail to deliver.
There are 3 roads up Mt. Egmont and we took Pembroke Rd which runs up the mountain straight from Stratford. You couldn’t really see the mountain properly as we started up the hill and I must confess that I might have been one of the group that doubted Dave’s word. However as we started to climb up the peaks that we were getting of the mountain where of one shrouded in sunlight!!
With John and Den in charge of cooking the sausages the rest of us grabbed our chairs and started taking in the views. It wasn’t long before lunch was on the table and with some well saute’d onions courtesy of Lorraine it was our first group meal.
Those of you who follow my blog will know that where there is a walk we are ready to follow the path and so it was here with a walk to the skifields. Leading up from the car park it starts out as quite an easy walking track although it does lead uphill so a bit of huff and puff is required. At the top of this track you come to the baggage lift that takes your gear to the skifield across a deep gully that walkers need to walk around.
From the baggage lift the track heads underneath a concrete tunnel hiding it from the landslip that has occured above. The mountainside is seriously unstable around here and caution is really required especially as you cross the stream bed, that was dry on the day of our visit but it’s not hard to imagine a raging torrent during periods of heavy rain.
Safely across the stream bed the path heads up the otherside complete with a set of steps to get you up the steepest part of the track. It was a bit surprising to find this lovely yellow flower amongst all the brown that surrounds the mountain. It was the only one we say and it was hidden from the sun not really where I would have expected to find such a nice flower.
Reaching the top the views were just stunning, we really had lucked in with the weather today just as Dave had promised. There are only a few buildings here at the base of the skifield and I guess since you have to walk up here it’s not exactly overrun with skiers during the season. The bottom photo shows Sarah sitting in the emergency shelter which offers really nice views back down the mountain.
Of course what or who goes up must come down and so it was that we wound our way back down the path to the motorhome. Although this wasn’t a huge walk (30 odd minutes each way) it was one that we both thoroughly enjoyed and one I would recommend to others as one worth doing.
Dave had been really keen to get a group shot so here is everyone, minus me as the photo taker and Des and Mary Lee who had departed the safari at this point.
There is a lookout not far from the carpark area and it was here that you get a really great view of the mountain looking up and then down across the plains to the towns and villages below. On a clearer day you can see the mountains of the central plateau from here as well. We did actually get a glimpse of these but the cloud cover meant they just blended in when you tried to photo them.
You can spend up to 4 nights here freedom camping and if you can get to stay here like we did with scenes like these then it makes for a pretty special place to stay. I posted a couple of photos on Facebook when we where here and had someone comment that the place has a bad reputation for hoons and to be careful. We didn’t really have any issues during the night except it was November 5th and someone did arrive during the night let off 2 or 3 fireworks and then departed. I guess a large group like ours is something of a deterrent to the hoons.
The following morning dawned bright and clear with what looked like another glorious day to be had. Everyone was glad that Dave had organised such a magnificent time for us on the mountain and it’s a place that certainly offers some magical views when the weather cooperates.
To view the places we have visited click here to see them on Google maps. You can click the links to read the blog about that area.
To view the ratings for other places and camps we have stayed click here