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The joy of driving: Welly to Gizzy

Last weekend was spent in Gisborne and I made the 7-ish hour drive on Friday. I love open road touring especially on my own and especially on days when most of the population is at work!

The TomTom took a ride as well and for me the most value in having it was its more accurate speedo – I reckon it saved a few minutes. However it failed for the second time by freezing up repeatedly later in the weekend. It first happened not long after we got it in January and we may have to apply a three strikes policy.

Laybys off SH1 provide clear views across to Kapiti Island

Kapiti Island is conservation land which you can visit though I've not yet organised myself to do this in the 8+ years I've lived down here!

The route taken was up State Highway 1 cutting through back-roads to the outskirts of Palmerston North, through the Manawatu Gorge and onto SH2. Highway 50 in the Hawkes Bay is a brilliant road, long straights and little traffic. Between Napier and Gisborne the road winds more and, provided you don’t come across too many camper vans, trucks or roadworks, is arguably more fun.

The Manawatu Gorge between Palmerston North and Woodville

After the gorge I detoured up to the Te Apiti Wind Farm, the first wind farm in NZ to feed into the national grid

Then there are the times where you come across a vehicle to keep good pace with, or which keeps pace with you (noting that this is not by any means ‘racing’). Rarely do I feel more present and alive than during those periods of driving.

I stopped at a couple of places for photos but passed by many other opportunities. After overtaking traffic the overwhelming temptation is to keep going lest you get stuck behind the same camper van, truck etc again. I especially love the old dilapidated buildings and I often think that I should revisit these rural primary and secondary roads with more time to stop and take photos.

The town of Wairoa, roughly half way between Napier and Gisborne

On the food front: Norsewood is a little settlement with Scandinavian origins just off SH2 in the Tararua region. It has a great little cafe and has become a regular stop on occasion when we’re passing through. I personally recommend their brownie!

Often I like to drive without any aural accompaniment but I did plug in and crank up the ipod for a couple of hours… until my conscience butted in. I have a project management exam in June and had foolishly put some related audio books on my ipod, so subjected myself to a couple of hours of that also.

View from the top of the Wharerata hills looking north to Gisborne

I reached Gisborne late afternoon and made contact with family members in town for the family gathering, which I will describe in the next post.

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