It was very late in the day when I entered New Plymouth. I was so exhausted that I went straight to bed. I did make an effort to see the town the following morning. I walked the foreshore walkway alongside pebbly beaches. Just think that across that stretch of water is Australia.
That’s the end of my journey down the Forgotten Highway. Not quite forgotten, at least not by me.
The unsealed road eventually ends where the rainforest meets pasture land, and circumnavigates the mountain. I take the road north into New Plymouth, but not before I make a little detour to get a closer look at the mountain. It sure is snow-covered, and only mountaineers attempt to climb to the top in August.
Over yet another saddle, and I got my first glimpse of Mt Taranaki, with its distinctive cone. Reminds you of another mountain, a famous one in Japan perhaps? Well you’re not the only one as the producers of The Last Samurai thought exactly the same thing and hence shot most of that distinctly Japanese film in the Taranaki region. I stopped for a late lunch at a hilltop cafe not far from this point, where Mr Cruise and family apparently helicoptered in for afternoon tea one day. Such Hollywood excess.