Once we left Auckland, it was 2-lane roads all the way. The van has all the usual amenities except cruise control. There were some stretches where it would have been nice to set it and forget it, but mostly I had to pay close attention.
On the way into Palmy North, the out of date maps on our GPS had us going over the Manawatu Gorge road, but it was closed a couple of years ago due to repeated land slips. There’s a detour up a twisty mountain road that takes you right up into the Te Apiti wind farm. It had been windy all day, and the spinning turbines were quite beautiful in their way. People hate them, and talk about spoiled views and subsonic disruption and so on. But to me, they are gorgeous feats of engineering and seem so much more benign than the amount of destruction associated with coal mines and oil refineries (although a refinery on a foggy night can also be quite pretty).
Our next non-stop was to see the glockenspiel clock in Stratford. We weren’t at the right time for its twice-daily performance, sadly. Lonely Planet seemed a bit snarky about this particular Roadside Attraction.
And finally, the giant sheep shearing sculpture at Te Kuiti. Other than “awesome,” there’s really not much to be said about that.