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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Carrot Capital

NEW ZEALAND | Monday, 24 August 2015 | Views [885]

Greetings in orange! That's because I'm in Ohakune: NZ's "carrot capital." A giant carrot greets people as you enter the town, and large bags of carrots are for sale at dairies and petrol station. These past few visits to New Zealand I've mostly been returning to places I've been before. In fact, the only places I've visited this year or last year that I hadn't been to are Napier, Katikati, Takaka, and now Ohakune. In fact, this is one section of the country I've seen very little of. When I arrived last night everything was closed; not even a takeaway was open! Pavel and Martina are my CouchSurfing hosts here in the land of carrots. They're both from the Czech Republic and Martina is a gorgeous lass with a lovely personality. Ohakune is a ski town; unlike Queenstown it's geared more toward Kiwi skiers rather than foreigners, though there's a fair number of foreigners as well. As managers of a hotel, Martina and Pavel live in the office and they host people from time to time. It's nice to spend a few days somewhere, though I've received some really good lifts hitchhiking these past few days: Fox Glacier to Motueka in one lift the other day, and Nelson to Waiouru yesterday.

Today I went for a fairly long walk despite the weather being really gloomy. I was hoping to do the Tongariro Crossing but a guide is required at this time of year. Seriously, every time I plan the Crossing there's some sort of mishap. I attempted it twice last year and both times the weather was too foul! With the Tongariro Crossing idea scratched for now, I'll have another chance in a few weeks as I'll be travelling south again. Despite being a ski town, Ohakune is astonishingly quiet. There are numerous pubs, takeaways, and ski rental outfitters, but where are all the people? Stopping for a feed of fish & chips for lunch I scouted around town for some geocaches, of which there are five here. The first was beneath a bench with a (supposed) great view of Mt. Ruapehu but it was too foggy today. It rained a bit though I walked relentlessly in search of new sights and new geocaches. The final cache brought me to the old Ohakune Station.

Sadly, New Zealand is largely devoid of passenger train services. Only a few tourist routes and services within places like Wellington or Auckland exist, otherwise New Zealand would be a great country for train travel. The station's signal box is open, so I got to check out the handles.

Continuing back to Pavel's place I marvelled at how quiet Ohakune is. I must've passed a half-dozen or so ski rental outlets with no people around to hire skis or snowboards. Mind you, the slopes have been closed these past couple of days due to high winds. Ohakune, the land of carrots, isn't a bad spot to spend a few days, though next time I hope the weather is better. 

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