Sean Mc on Skynet

Wanganui River Road



We're back on the North Island and with plenty of time to make the short journey from Wanganui to Mt Ruapehu we thought we'd take the scenic route along the old Wanganui River Road.
The tourist books make it sound idylic, see this link but it didn't really turn out like that.
What followed invovled us being pulled out of the mud where we'd ended up after choosing between a 150m cliff down on one side and a 150m cliff up on the other, tough choice, to avoid a recent rockfall. What happened was that we came around a corner and saw two small boulders in the middle of the road with no room for us to fit through, so we took the safer option of steering for the cliff going up from us. Thankfully there was a lot of mud at the base of the cliff but it meant we weren't going anywhere quickly. Before anyone else might come around the corner and choose us instead of the cliff we moved the two boulders. This left us stuck in the mud at the side of the road with nothing on the road that had ever need to be avoided, in short if made us all look stupid! A few mintues later though a local came along in a pickup truck adn towed us out, but only after he had stopped laughing at us. Undeterred we continued.

What we encountered was numerous falled trees, with the only way around them being close to a big drop on one side of the road. Many of them we had to get out and break limbs off the fallen trees just to get by. Just when we thought we were over the worst of it we came across a mudslide that had closed the road. Turning back wasn't really an option at this point after having taken several hours to travel the previous 60km and only about 20km left, but we weren't sure if we'd get through. AS we came around the bend what we saw was a huge excavator in the middle of where we thought the road should be, but it was under a few feet of mud instead. We really didn't think that there was a way through. Eventually one of the road workers came to us and told us that there was still a sealed road underneath the mudslide. We started through it with a lot of wheelspin and slipping and sliding, still not sure I'd get through but hoping at least that we could be pulled out this one quickly. We did get through it, but I'm sure if our van could talk it wouldn't be very happy! Onward to Mt Ruapehu for a days skiing.

posted by SeanMc @ 1:39 AM,

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