My road to paradise. SH48 to Whakapapa and Mt Ruapehu. Image: Su Leslie 2016

I don’t ski or snow-board — or even do much hiking — but one of my absolute favourite places in this country is Tongariro National Park, and particularly the area around the Chateau Tongariro and the Whakapapa ski-fields.

There is a special excitement when I round a particular corner and catch the first glimpse of the Chateau. I can’t explain it, and maybe I don’t need to. I am thinking it’s time for another road trip though.

Posted to the Rag-Tag Daily Prompt — road. Ironically, given the prompt included a quote from Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings — Tongariro was used as the location of Mordor in the filming of LOTR.

“Sam: Mordor. The one place in Middle-earth we don’t want to see any closer, and the one place we’re trying to get to.” — JRR Tolkein, The Lord of the Rings trilogy

29 thoughts on “Road

  1. Florida is so flat, but there is one road, that when I come around the curve and look down the road, it looks like mountains in the distance. I so get this photo. I know that excitement. And you actually have mountains!

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    • NZ is a pretty hilly country, and the South Island in particular has a lot of mountains. I get the same feeling when I’m travelling towards the coast. Not in Auckland, where there is water everywhere, but when I leave town and am heading to another beach. There are a few places where you come over a hill after a long stretch of driving in forest or through farmland, and suddenly see the sea. That is magical (even though I live like 500 metres from the coast — it’s not the same).

      Liked by 1 person

    • I do feel very privileged. And very angry at how little respect for our environment is being shown by companies and the government in the quest for “growth.”


  2. I am very tempted, but do I dare look at the price to stay in that chateau? I love seeing a mountain range anywhere for some reason and there is something special about snow-topped mountains. I get a similar feeling seeing the sea – even on a drive to a nearby supermarket I still get a thrill of excitement seeing the water. Must be from those childhood memories of catching that first sea glimpse when going on holiday.

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    • Best rate I found at the moment is $125 per night — probably in the old part of the hotel without views. I stayed there once for a conference and it is rather special.
      I feel the same way about seeing the ocean. Not so much round home as it’s so close, but pretty much anywhere else will involve going over hills and through a bit of bush and at some point you always get to the crest of a hill and the sea is just visible in the distance. That’s magical.

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        • Just avoid the ski season and you should be able to get a deal. They’re encouraging longer (5+ night) stays at the moment and there’s part of me that really fancies taking up residence there for that long. It would almost be worth it just for the people-watching.


  3. That “just can’t wait” feeling is the same one I get every year when I/we go to Wyoming. The best moment is the first one where I can see the Big Horn Mountains in the distance. Hmmm, I was going to say it just gets better and better after that, but if that’s the best moment, I can’t have a better one. But you know what I mean. 🙂


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