Down the ‘Naki

New Plymouth
I was going to go to the Bowls Museum, but it was closed. Actually, it was unattended, but to have got it attended would hav involved going into the adjacent bowling club, and that might have made me look like a bowls enthusiast.

Inglewood
This is where the FunHo! toy museum lives. You’d never get away with naming a toy company that these days. I had a look at the collection of old FunHo! toys, and I was reminded that FunHo! made excellent sandpit toys.

Whangamomona
From Stratford I went along the “Forgotten World Highway”, aka The Road Between Stratford and Taumarunui. About halfway along that is the little settlement of Whangamomona. There’s a hotel, so I had lunch there. A self-proclaimed farmer’s wife, who was helping out behind the bar, made me some potato wedges. The walls of the hotel were covered with various photos of the area, as well as a good 100 years of local rugby team photos. Once a year Whangamonona declares itself to be an independent republic, but at the moment it was just being a nice little settlement.

Stratford
Stratford-upon-Patea is taking the whole Shakespeare thing a bit too seriously now. Like, having all the streets named after Shakespearean characters is cool, but the mock-mock-Tudor is a bit much. Nailing black planks of wood diagonally across a 1950s fibrolite shack does not make a Tudor building.

Hawera
There’s a water tower in Hawera. I walked up it, but didn’t go all the top because I got that fear-of-being-inside-large-concrete-spaces thing. However, it did offer lovely views of the ‘Naki and the mountain.

Patea
I took a photo of the giant concrete canoe – the one they sing in front of in the Poi E video. Across the road is the Poi E Information Centre, but it appeared to be closed. Further down the road was the HQ of the Patea Maori Club, which was totally awesome to see.

Wanganui
Where I am now. There appears to be some sort of school-sport-related event in town, meaning all the nice motels are full, so I’m staying in one that the Lonely Planet describes as “clean” and “good value”. However, it is “a cracker day out there,” as the computer/kite shop man just said to another customer.

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