In the early morning light, while it was still cool and dewy we visited the Dugald MacKenzie Rose Garden, armed with our macro lenses and light rings, we took off for some still life goodness, I had not shot any real flowers in days 🙂
We left Palmerston North and drove through various farmland, mostly dairy, some sheep on the way through to Bulls. Funny name for a town and they took it to heart, everything was bulls, statues, signed, shop names and more.
We stopped at Cameron’s Blockhouse and were mildly surprised, such a great quirky little spot with a fascinating history – basically a Safe House during the Kiwi Wars.
Drove through to Portland Quay at Wanganui and then Patea to the Patea Cool Store (or what is left of it)…
Finally, we headed to Mount Taranaki and spent the evening at Dawson Falls Mountain Lodge – very 1960s Swiss Chalet, so quaint, not TV, No Wifi. It was so cold and so cloudy, could not even see the Mountain and we were right at the base of it!
Walked to Dawson Falls – so cold and it is not 200m to the falls, don’t care what the damn Kiwis and DCP say. We did walk through the Goblin Forest, some say it was named that as Parts of the Hobbit was shot there, but I do not think so. Still could not see the mountain, due to the low cloud.
We drove into Stratford for dinner and then spent the early evening chatting to other travellers back at the lodge around the huge open fire. Once it got dark we then spent a fun few hours freezing (I think I was wearing so many layers of clothing I could barely lift my arms) light sculpting and doing astrophotography on the edge of the Goblin Forest – well it was still cool and spooky, especially with all the possums hissing at us and scurrying about.
On a side note, I think this was one of the very few places in NZ which dogs are not allowed, there was even a signed saying not even in the car! $100,000 fine! I wonder what they are protecting, as we never saw anything apart from possums!