“Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink.” That ran through my mind after lunch when I was thinking about what we had already seen for the day and what I would tell you about. As the afternoon went on, I was amazed at how many forms of water there was in our day. One powerful element it is…
Raindrops on roses greeted us on the way to the loo.
On the road, we stopped at a scenic overlook of Lake Taupo – the largest lake in Australasia – it’s about the size of Singapore! It was created by a massive volcanic eruption that blew a 660 kilometer square hole in the earth. Supposedly that sent ash all over the world. There are three rivers that feed into the lake – Waikato, Tongariro, and Waitahanui that bring lots of trout with the water – if you like that sort of thing. There are also 10 m tall Maori carvings on cliffs around the lake. We definitely plan to come back in January to see those. FOr now we just get to have a little peek at the lake. From there we headed north and stopped by Huka Falls which is on the Waikato River. The falls are created where the river narrows from 100m wide to 15 meters wide. The rush then is about 250,000 liters of water (two Olympic-sized pools) through that gap in a second. It was amazing how loud this was. At the bridge where this picture was taken there was no way to hold a conversation. Pictures are nice for this, but I ended up taking video mostly to capture the sound!Orakei Korako was our final destination for our touring. It is a hidden valley that still contains chaotic geothermal activity. It has more geysers than any other geothermal field in the country. It’s silica terraces are reported to be the largest in the world. One fellow tourist called it “other-worldly” and she was right. It was a warm place with all the steam, but quite beautiful to explore. The colors in these photos are from the hot water algae. I easily took 100 pictures while we were here – most of which are fodder for tapestry weavings. I had a point where I was looking at how nature combines colors in leaves, etc. But this was some interesting combinations of colors and I now am looking at how nature creates shapes.Our reservations for tonight were in Newlands near Wellington. We took the Desert Road or State Highway 1 (hence not a drop to drink…) That allowed us a good view of Mount Ruapehu. This is still an active volcano and was last erupted in 1995 and 1996. It is the North Islands tallest mountain at 2797 meters. James kindly offered to roll down the window so I could get glare free pictures. We did this a handful of times, but this picture what when the antler went flying off the window. We went back and found the plastic in 3 pieces and the poor jingle bells pretty mangled – but they still jingle!
Garmin has been a great asset down here, but we have found some issues. We stayed mostly on the State Highway for this trek, but somehow there was a right turn she asked us to take and then a left where there was none to be had. “Recalculating”, she said and we ended up meandering up along a wandering road for about 14 km. At the end of it, we were directed to take Watershed Rd for another 14 km. Watershed Road was a gravel road or what kiwi call a metal road (don’t know why…). The scenery was breathtaking. There were sheep I am not sure have ever seen humans by the way they ran from us – (maybe they were appalled by the missing antler.) We only saw one car for that hour and half. We’ve named that a happy surprise. We took 550 pictures this day. If you really want to have a look at those you can check them out at the following links. In fact all of the pictures have now been uploaded and links are on each of the pages.http://picasaweb.google.com/jjpeavey2/20091216JSP?feat=directlink