So National Park Village is in the middle of the north island, on the volcanic plateau. There are basically three volcanoes surrounded by mostly flat land, and a few villages dotted around. National Park has great views of all three volcanoes – Ruapehu, Ngaruhoe and Tongariro – but isn’t that close to them. It has a population of around 500, and is basically three streets wide and four streets long. The “perimeter” can be walked in about 30 minutes. Industry basically comes down to tourism and logging. There is loads of accommodation in the village, and most buildings are chalet-style or A-frames. Schnapps, Basekamp, The Station, Eivin’s, and National Park Hotel are the drinking/eating options. The only shops are the petrol station/general store, and ski shops. Walking is the big summer activity, with loads of places in town offering transport to and from the Tongariro Crossing. There is also biking, and skiing brings in the crowds in the winter. Whakapapa Village is near Ruapehu, and that is the nearest ski field. Again, accommodations provide transport. And that’s about it for the village.

On to Plateau Lodge. It’s in a U-shape arrangement, with the motel units on the left as you come up the drive, and the lodge in front and to the right. There are six motel units, one of which Cy and Zeus live in, so is never sold. They are currently being upgraded to two-bedrooms rather than studios. In the lodge, there are seven rooms downstairs and two en-suite rooms upstairs. There is also an open plan dining and living area, a kitchen, and communal bathrooms, with four cubicles each containing a shower and toilet. The reception is to the right of the complex, and the two internet stations, payphone and hot tub are all over that end too. The other side of reception is the flat, where Cy’s dad lives. Next to that is the guest laundry, then my room with the cleaning room behind, and then the tool shed. Out front, there is a large lawn for camping, and a car park. Can’t think of anything else to tell you about the lodge. But you can check out the website.

Lastly, on to Schnapps. From the outside, it looks like a bit of a shed. Inside though, it’s quite nice. There are lots of long wooden tables with chairs, plus a few sofas and coffee tables. There is a pool table, dart board and a couple of arcade games. There is a bar and a food till/coffee area. We also sell wholesale, for people to take back to their accommodation. It’s an informal dining set up: people come to the till to order, we give them a number which they take to their table, and we find the right number at the right time. The kitchen is small and badly designed, but Spud has plans to improve it. Behind the bar is a chiller room though, which makes restocking easy. You just push everything forward and place the new stock behind it – no need to worry about rotation – and the kegs are kept in there too. There is also a back room which we apparently open when it’s really busy, but so far it’s only been used for meetings and as dDub’s green room while I’ve been working. So that’s about it I think.

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