New Zealand 2016 – post #2

Our fifth day in/around Taupo on NZ’s North Island is drawing to a close. The past two days have been especially enjoyable; first of all by a prevalence of sunshine. It makes such a difference.

Monday morning we woke up to a much clearer view across the lake to the distant mountains of Tongariro National Park, which we’re just back from. I’ll get to that.

Taking advantage of the sunshine, we booked into a 90 minute Lake Taupo cruise. We almost had the cruise boat to ourselves; just 6 others. Gorgeous weather. Cruise highlight: checking out the contemporary Maori rock carvings (think 1980s) at Mine Bay. Here’s a link. Here are some nice pics:

It really was such a nice cruise, with coffee and freshly cooked blueberry muffins to top it off. 

Some down time after we’re back and mid-afternoon, via Huka Falls we’re off to the Mitai Maori Village in Rotorua- just over an hour’s drive north. Huka Falls is right near the source of NZ’s longest river, the Waikato. The surging of water through a narrowed passageway creates one incredible, mightily impressive surge of water. Huka Falls claims to be one of NZ’s prime tourist attractions. Sorry, we gave the jet boat ride a miss 🙂

Mitai Maori Village in Rotorua was worth it! Good blend of Maori culture on show (especially dance and music, haka included), sumptuous hangi meal, tasty desserts and nighttime guided forest walks. Not overly commercialised and believe it or not – no gift shop at the end! 

That was yesterday. Driving home, I stayed awake enjoying Joan Baez’ 75th birthday concert via Apple CarPlay – great guest artists with her including Emmylou Harris, Paul Simon, Jackson Browne, Indigo Girls and heaps more.

Today, enjoying another sunny morning we drove the 90 minutes south to Tongariro National Park, with its three active (or at least dormant) volcanoes of Ngauruhoe, Tongariro and Ruapehu – North Island’s tallest mountain. One of these acted as Mt Doom in Lord of the Rings. This is definitely Rings country! These volcanoes are ever present, seemingly whichever way you look or drive, impressive indeed. Tom, Diana and I took the “easy” 6 km walk of the Taranaki Falls Track. No regrets, as I passed through or by open alpine fields, subtropical rain forest, the falls themselves and fast-flowing Mountain streams. I will remember this walk for a long time.

Before heading back to Taupo we all enjoyed a high tea in the amazing Chateau Tongariro – this huge old-fashioned British-in-style hotel in the “middle of nowhere”.

Views from our seating there, aided by the cheese platter before  hand were stunning indeed.

Wonderful couple of days, wonderful sights and experiences , and wonderful spending this time with Diana and Tom.

Until next posting.

Blessings – David


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