How about this for a fab weekend: a car load from Auckland rendezvous’ with two car loads from Hawkes Bay at the elegant old lady of Tongariro, the Bayview Chateau for a birthday with a zero in it. A weekend with good food, good wine, a few giggles and fancy pants hotel to do it in.
Chateau Tongariro was built in 1929 on land gifted to NZ by the chief of Ngati Tuwharetoa, Horonuku Te Heu Heu Tukino. This land also included the sacred peaks of Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe and today anyone can come here and enjoy these amazing mountains.
It was one of those picture postcard days finally arriving at Tongariro National Park some 4 hours after leaving Auckland and seeing the Chateau sitting majestically at the foot of the snow-capped Mt Ruapehu. And to top it off it’s late autumn so the whole trip down was ablaze with golds, reds and oranges as we drove down State Highway 1 through parts of NZ I’ve not visited before. (Hello Pirongia!)
There were 10 of us in our group so the hotel did a package deal for us: 1 night, 2 three-course meals, 2 buffet breakfasts next morning $360 (or $180 pp).
Don’t do what I did and see the peak of Ngauruhoe and say, oh I’ll take a photo later and whiz on past because some people were sitting here and I didn’t want to look like a dick taking photos of them. Snow clouds roll over all the time and when you see the snow-capped peak be quick! Alas this is the price of my shyness.
The bedroom above is in the new wing built in 2005 and below is a traditional room in the original building above the ball room. (I liked the new wing with modern bathroom better).
Now get ready for dinner! Because there were 10 of us we ordered nearly every dish on the menu so I made everyone sit still until I went round the table and photographed their plates before they started picking at them. Here we go:
Right, now here come the mains:
Then we got a bit of exercise in the games room downstairs. I’m trying to whip my brother-in-law at ping pong while the rest of the cuzzies scream over the foozball table