Starting where I last left off, Andy and I were driving the Surf Highway southward along the Cape Egmont coast and around the base of Mount Taranaki. After visiting the wreck of the SS Gairloch, we made our way to The Historic Cape Light & Museum. The museum itself wasn’t open, but the replica lighthouse was still worth a visit.
I can never pass up an opportunity to get a family shot. Higgs actually managed to face the camera in this one.
Next, we drove a few more kilometers along the Surf Highway to the Cape Egmont Lighthouse, which marks the westernmost point of the Taranaki coast. The light dates back to the 1860s, when it was first assembled in Wellington. That spot proved unsatisfactory, so the parts were shipped to Cape Egmont and assembled there in 1881. Now fully automated, it still stands guard over the rugged, windswept coastline.
This spot had everything I love, all rolled into one – a lonely lighthouse, dilapidated buildings with weather-worn boards and incredible sweeping vistas.
It seems that most people don’t head to Taranaki for the holidays, as they prefer to go to regions known for better weather, like the Bay of Plenty or Hawkes Bay. This meant we had the place nearly to ourselves, which made everything seem all the more vast and peaceful.
Even Higgs was impressed by the never-ending sea of fields surrounding the lighthouse.
Or maybe it was the cows.
I really could have spent hours at this spot, taking it all in.
It was already past lunchtime though, and Andy and I were hoping to locate some fish and chips.
Still time for one last shot with my favorite little sea-breeze-battered house.
We drove to the end of the road to check out the seaside cliffs, which really reminded of Ireland’s rugged coastline.
The view looking back towards Cape Egmont Lighthouse was beautiful. You can barely make out Mount Taranaki rising in the background to the right. In clearer weather, it must be a glorious backdrop to the lighthouse.
We found some great fish and chips at a quintessential small-town Kiwi cafe in Okato. Higgs even got some chips for being a good road-trip buddy. With the three of us stuffed and satisfied, we made our way back inland toward Stratford, but not before one last pitstop to say farewell to the coast.
Every time Andy and I leave the car, we return to this eager little face staring out at us. Gotta love always having a Vallhund welcoming committee.
We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening relaxing at our cabin in Stratford, sheltering from the rain that swept in just as we were finishing our drive for the day.
I hope you’re enjoying Taranaki as much as Andy and I did. A bit more to come in the next (and final) post of the trip!