New Zealand: Drive to Mount Ruapehu

For my first weeks in New Zealand, I’ll be staying with a very close family friend. Our families have known each other since we were kids and it feels like we’re more relatives than friends.

Kuya Nowell is my older brother’s childhood buddy. He introduced us to his younger sisters, who then became my closest friends while growing up.

legano family

On the night of my arrival, he had a spontaneous idea to go on a road trip for my first day in New Zealand.

The next day, we all piled in to his car and drove from Panmure to Mount Ruapehu.
mount ruapehu new zealand

Because I arrived at the end of Winter, we were hoping to catch some of the last snow falls in this region.

map auckland to mount ruapehu

The ride took us half a day because we had multiple stops along the way. The landscapes were just too awesome!

mount ruapehu new zealand

Mount Ruapehu

This active stratovolcano is the highest point, with the only glaciers, in the North Island. It is home to two of New Zealand’s top ski areas – Whakapapa and Turoa.

mount ruapehu new zealand

When we arrived at Mount Ruapehu, we only had one hour before the snow sport rentals and cafes closed.

mount ruapehu new zealand

But that’s ok because we made it just in time for snow!

mount ruapehu new zealand

mount ruapehu new zealand

My normal self would have tried skiing but I was too jet-lagged to be adventurous that day.

mount ruapehu new zealand

mount ruapehu new zealand

So what did we do then? We had coffee until closing time.

mount ruapehu new zealand

mount ruapehu new zealand

mount ruapehu new zealand

That was almost 7 hours of driving for a 50-minute coffee time. But that’s alright because I had so much fun reconnecting with my family!

mount ruapehu new zealand

mount ruapehu new zealand

The mountain at a distance…

mount ruapehu new zealand

mount ruapehu new zealand

We had dinner at Vita Min Korean Restaurant in Rotorua. Samgyeopsal and hot stew warmed our frozen tummies!

We reached home at midnight and everybody went to bed happily exhausted.

mount ruapehu new zealand mount ruapehu new zealand

In being reunited with childhood friends, you get to see how life has changed each one. But the values shared, the love and affection remain the same.

mount ruapehu new zealand

We are anchored by good memories and relationships from the past, so we move forward in confidence, knowing that God allows people to cross paths again for a purpose.

mount ruapehu new zealand

That was my exciting first day in the South West pacific!

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