I should have mentioned earlier that we had left a small bag of trash and a container of stir fried broccoli in the car while we’d been on Whanganui Journey. Once back in Taumarunui, the car smelled absolutely wretched. Hayden threw away the garbage and the sad, abandoned broccoli, but the damage was already done. Every time we reentered the car, things smelled weird again.
The drive from Taumarunui to Ohakune was a short 1 hour jaunt down the same path we’d taken to get from Pipiriki to Taumaranui. Hayden thought he saw the Taumaranui shuttle passing us from the opposite direction.
I’d chosen Ohakune for its nearness to both Taumarunui and Whakapapa Village, where the Taumaranui Northern Circuit starts. The plan was to hang out at a cheap Airbnb for a few nights, get some rest after the 5 day canoe trip, prepare for Tongariro, and apply for jobs and internships. I had no idea what kind of town Ohakune would be like, but I’d pictured farmland and not much else.
To my surprise, Ohakune was farmland but also a cute and (very) small backpackers town advertising skiing, hiking, and Lord of the Rings sights in the area.
The Airbnb’s check in time was pretty late at 4 PM. We came into Ohakune around 2 PM and had some time to kill, so we wandered around the Ohakune town area for a bit. We took all the Great Walk brochures (to plan future journeys) from the visitor center, hit a bunch of Pokestops and Pokemon gyms in the area, got a quick bite and some free internet from Utopia Cafe, and went to the market.
Our Airbnb was named Vincents Barn, no apostrophe, no explanation, run by a man named Errol. The place was really reasonably priced and had a lot of character. It wasn’t actually a barn, but it sure looked like one of the family members had built it. Hayden loved the place immediately.
Very soon after arriving, we found 1 big spider in the sink, 1 giant fly, and 1 exoskeleton. All part of the experience.
Hayden immediately started unloading and airing out the car, doing laundry, and cleaning the tent. I started cooking pasta. For dinner, we had penne with meat sauce, bell peppers, and onions.
Later that night, we found a crazed moth careening around every lamp in the house. We contemplated the saying “like a moth to a flame.”
Hayden Makes Breakfast
Eggs and bacon. Also toast.
Hayden and I spent most of the day applying to jobs for me and internships for Hayden. It was long and grueling and definitely good that I’d allocated time to get it done.
Later, we realized that we had forgotten to buy tortilla chips for our planned taco meal, so we went to the market again. Tortilla chips in New Zealand are weird and most of them are “cheese” or “double cheese” flavored. I also insisted that we get cookie mix to bake.
For dinner, I ate a ton of nachos and some tacos. We watched Van Helsing and it was really bad, just as I had remembered.
RAB Makes Breakfast
Surprise! I made breakfast! Hayden was grumpily sitting on the couch, so I took the task of breakfast upon myself. I put the leftover taco materials including tortilla strips in the eggs, which interested Hayden enough to get him to finish the cooking himself. Hayden put a bunch of Sabroso hot sauce on it and loved it. I thought it was OK.
More Job Hunt
I did more job applications and we both packed some for Tongariro. Hayden made cookies while I did that, and they turned out weird, like muffins. Hayden was ashamed but I thought they tasted fine.
Hayden also went outside and took pictures of the area.
Once again, we went to the market, this time to get fruit for Tongariro.
Dinner was spaghetti with meat sauce, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, onions, and garlic. It was really yummy.
We watched Tropic Thunder over dinner, and it started out sort of funny, but then it got really bad and not in a good way. All the good movies had already been watched.
There were a bunch of chickens living at Vincents Barn, and Hayden got really into the chickens and started doing research on how one would go about having chickens. In the morning, Hayden spent some time taking pictures of the chickens.
I took some pictures with my phone.
After that, we finished packing and checked out.
We forgot the cookies in the microwave.
The drive to Whakapapa Village was only 45 minutes. Little did we know, there was soon to be a disappointing change of plans…