Monday, 19 July 2010

Snow weekend

We've had a snow weekend. After getting a puncture on the way to work on Friday, resulting in a destroyed car tyre, it looked like our plans to get out of town mid-afternoon were being threatened. However, a quick change of tyres after work, replacing my damaged one with a set from my sweetie's racecar, saw us escape the worst of the Friday night peak hour traffic and we were off!

Let me clarify what I mean by a snow weekend. I don't ski or snowboard, but I'm not averse to going away with people who do. I may try a beginner's lesson when we are up at the mountain for a week from the end of August, but it's not the reason why snow weekends appeal to me. For me, it's all about a change of scene, some time out relaxing with friends, and generally getting out of town for a bit.  They say that a change is as good as a break. "Why not both?" I say.

A group of 42 hired out Snowy Waters Lodge in Raetihi. This former nurses home was built in the 1940s and now hosts backpacker-type accommodation. Our room was the size of a postage stamp (think 3/4 bed and add about half a metre around it) but we were only a short drive away from Mt Ruapehu. Due to poor visibility at Whakapapa on Saturday morning, the gang headed up to Turoa for a day of skiing and snowboarding while I chilled out with good coffee and a book back at the lodge. The intention was to join everybody for lunch, but when the weather deteriorated and a group arrived back before then and decided to head to the hot pools instead, I quickly grabbed a spot in their van.

We drove north to Tokaanu Thermal Pools, near Turangi. Unfortunately, someone decided that it would be good to listen to a Fleetwood Mac Greatest Hits CD from start to finish on the way up. The only redeeming feature from this enforced torture was that I developed a new-found appreciation for Mick Fleetwood's drumming. (Thankfully the return journey yielded a better choice: The Eagles' Hell Freezes Over.)

Once at Tokaanu, we began with a 20 minute soak in a private spa pool - the pool itself was bigger than our room back at the lodge and easily fit eight of us! I was thrilled to be able to tick an activity off my 101 in 1001 list that I was really looking forward to: #30 - Relax in hot mineral pools. The hot mineral water was the perfect remedy for my aching back and we spent another hour or so mucking around in the larger, slightly cooler, outdoor pool as the sun came out. Just what the doctor ordered!

The weather was markedly better on Sunday, so the troops headed off to Turoa once again while I indulged in a lazy day about town. Now, that's my idea of a snow weekend. ;-)

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