Towards the end I was in denial, having the wipers on the middle setting, trying to avoid having them on full blast and thereby admitting that it was actually pissing down. The holiday can’t start like this.
From Napier we drove to Taupo, and then after some lunch, through the wilds of the central North Island, including a gravelled forestry road not on our map. Becky’s Dad is one of those blokes that likes to find the shortest way between two points on a map, and I was reminded of that creepy Stephen King story where two blokes try to outdo each other finding the shortest route and one wins, but his short cuts take him through some (literally) unearthly places. It wasn’t like that for us, just wholesome pastoral country and mildly sinister pine forests.
We arrived in Opotiki just in time for the rain, 26°C and steaming like a sauna; shopped large in the supermarket, leaving as it started to grow dark.
And then up the twisty Highway 35, the rain really set in. We swerved to avoid rocks fallen off the bluffs along the Motu river, and slowed down to 40 km/h at times as the dark and the rain made me think I’d lost the road. I’d certainly lost Becky’s Dad, tail-lights ahead several bends. Kids in the back really had it by this time, Rosa crying with hunger, but… at last we arrived.
And so we are here. The rain has stopped now. The kids are in bed, sleeping. Some nightime insect is calling, a sort of jungle sound. I wonder what this place looks like in the daylight?