I must have driven past that road sign a hundred times without stopping. A few kilometres north of Murchison, the turn-off to Lake Rotoroa had long beckoned but I’d always been in too much of a hurry. This time, though? Well, we were only going as far as Hanmer Springs, and really, what was the rush? I hit the indicator, stomped on the brakes and wheeled the car left over the bridge.
The road ended 11 kilometres later at a small carpark. It seemed like a popular camping spot, although the swarm of sandflies that greeted us as we opened the doors made me wonder why. We didn’t stay long – just a few minutes of wandering along the shoreline snapping photos and disturbing a small family of ducks.
It was a completely unnecessary detour – which of course, made it all the more enjoyable. There are so many places like this in New Zealand – just follow a random sign and see where it leads. It’s rare indeed to end up disappointed.