It’s an early morning farewell to the isolated river retreat of River Valley. Today, we will be making our way over the Ruahine Ranges to the Hawke’s Bay town of Napier. Although we are leaving the stunning countryside nestled at the bottom of a river valley, it turns out that returning to civilisation will present us with an different type of beauty…
To get out of the middle of nowhere we have to drive through the middle of nowhere. We hit the gravel roads before sunrise, the only ones on the road. Notably, Laura decides this is a great time to ease back into driving for a couple of hours to get rid of her discomfort in driving. Sure, she can do skydiving, bungy jumping and a 365-trip doing 365 activities, but when it comes to driving, she is a bit of a wuss.
A stunning drive over the Ruahine ranges
As we travel over the exposed farmlands leading to the Ruahine Ranges, we see a dramatic sunrise squeezed under some low-lying clouds surrounding the mountains ahead. That’s the first case of wanting, no, needing to stop and take photos of the “wow” moments that the New Zealand landscape throws at us. We also can’t help stopping at various lookout points as we head on over a mountain pass through the Ruahine Ranges. Layers of bush-clad mountains lay before our eyes, making Laura realise how much more enjoyable driving in New Zealand can be compared to the road rage-riddled roads of her home in the UK.
Driving in New Zealand is so enjoyable, in fact, that Robin hints about three times that he can: “take over for a bit,” as he sits with itching feet in the passenger seat.