We were picked up on schedule at the end of the river adventure and were transported by bus an hour back to our car. We saw beautiful scenery along the way and were treated to a view of Mount Ruapehu the volcano which is the centre of the national park. We had intended to take a one day trek in the park which promised to be very strenuous as it involved a 1600 meter climb up and a walk through volcanic landscapes. We deceided to abandon this plan as we were quite done in by the effort expended in canoeing. We decided instead to head to New Plymouth and to spend a day or two in hotels and otherwise pampering ourselves.
Our route took us down State Highway 43....the Forgotten World Highway. This route twisted and turned through rolling, and high hilly land and for a long stretch was "unsealed" which we found remarkable for a state highway. At one point the road went through a one-lane tunnel carved through the hill side.
We ended a three hour, 130 km drve in Stratford for the night...then pressed on the next day to New Plymouth where a dormant volcano towers over the city and coast below.