Lichen, Whakapapa Village, North Island, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014
It’s only been two weeks since my little road trip to see my dad, but already memories are fading.
One of the highlights of the trip was the drive up to Chateau Tongariro and then up the Bruce Road to the chairlifts at the Whakapapa Ski area.
Living further north – and on the coast – I am always exhilarated by the mountains, especially the spare and rugged plant life. I loved the gorgeous lichens and heathers I found.
Heather? Or some other tough high altitude plant. Mt Ruapehu, North Island, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie 2014
But perhaps the best “close-up” was the Chateau itself. Built in 1929, this hotel is a New Zealand landmark (I hate using the word “icon” – but it is). It was designed by New Zealand architect Herbert Hall, but modeled on the resort hotel at Lake Louise in Canada. From the 1930s until 1990, the Chateau was owned by the New Zealand government through the Tourist Hotel Corporation, which ran a number of hotels around the country. Since privatization, a new wing of 40 rooms has been added.
I’ve only stayed at the Chateau once; several months into my first job out of university I was sent to a conference there. Young, gauche and slightly out of my depth, I nevertheless had a wonderful time – feeling very grown up and sophisticated.
First glimpse: approaching the Chateau Tongariro. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014
Up close. Definitely one of my “happy places.” The Chateau Tongariro, North Island, NZ. Photo: Su Leslie, 2014.
This post was written for Ailsa’s Travel Theme at Where’s my Backpack. Here are few other close-ups I’ve enjoyed: