New Zealand in pictures

A journey round New Zealand in February 2007
19th to 23rd day

Day 19 - Kaiteriteri to National Park Village (north Island)

The sundial outside Picton church with the touching motto
Be as true to each other
As the dial is to the sun

Picton is at the head of the very long Queen Charlotte Sound, and has the Inter-Islander ferry which connects with Wellington in the North Island

The two smqall white leading lights mark the entrance to Queen Charlotte Sound

The coast of North Island

Wellington from the sea

A photoshoot of wedding dresses on a windy Wellington street

View from our bedroom window

Our bedroom in the National Park Village

Changing views in the evening light

Day 20 - Walking the Tongariro Crossing
  • Bus to the Mangatepopo road end
  • 17 km. walking with 800 metres ascent and 1150 metres of descent
  • Weather: sunny with occasional cloud

Early dawn

The hut at the road end

Interesting joint for the hut construction

The start of the track - mesh to avoid erosion

Red lichens

and white

Most people start between 7.30 and 8, so there are quite a lot of people on the track to begin with

Track passing over a lava field

Clouds across the face of Mt. Ngauruhoe

The first steep bit

Board walk across fragile alpine area

Walking across the South crater

It is possible to climb Mt. Ngauruhoe on an unmarked path, but it is a steep climb taking 1½ hours return, and there is not enough time for this unless you are staying the night in one of the huts

The toilet near Soda Springs (lashed down for the severe winds)

The Soda Spring, smelling of sulphur

Waterfall above Soda Springs

The track gets steeper (right)

Looking back to the start

Walking across the South Crater

Some flowers can grow even in volcanic ash

The path climbs up the left hand ridge

Looking back over the South crater

The path to the final summit

with the stunning Red Crater beyond it

including this very strange lava flow hollowed out by weathering

The highest point of the crossing (1900 m.)

Looking down on the Emerald Lakes

This short section of the path is on loose scree

Steam from ulphur springs

The sulphur spills over onto the slope below

Looking back from the first emerald lake to the high summit (left)

The third emerald lake had this interesting red reed round its margin, providing a stunningt colour contrast

Looking back from there to the high summit (right)

Department of Conservation signposts make sure you don't get lost

The path leads on across the central crater

Looking back

Arriving at the Blue Lake

From the Blue Lake, which is almost exactly halfway, there is a steady descent of over 1000 m. through less interesting scenery to the Ketetahi road end. An alternative at this point is to trun round and see all the really good scenery again.

Tuft lichens

...growing in great abundance

The Keetahi Hut with the Keetahi Springs just above them. (The springs are on private land)

A sunken path in a red tussock area

The Dept. of Conservation is building a shortcut path to lead walkers further from the private springs. There is even a small digger at the top of line of bags, presumably brought in by helicopter.

The path from here on is made up with stepped levels and honeycomb mesh to prevent erosion

There were plenty of bare flax stalks all over NZ, but this was the only plant still flowering

For the last few km. the path is in forest land

...with occasional resting places for the weary who were not by then short of time to reach their bus at the road end

The last kilometer runs alongside a gusing stream

Back at the Tongariro Crossing Lodge in National Park

And off to the railway station, now converted to a restaurant, for a very good dinner
Day 21 - National Park Village to a homestay near Te Kuiti
  • Lake Taupo
  • The Huka Falls on the Waikato River
  • Orakei Korako - the "hidden valley" of geothermal springs
  • Weather: fine and warm

The Raurimo Spiral was completed in 1908 and was the final link in the Main Trunk Railway from Wellington to Auckland. Several thousand men worked on this project for 3 years; when completed, it was declared to be one of the wonders of the world.

Lake Rotoaira

Lake Taupo, the largest lake in New Zealand, formed by an enormous volcanic explosion in AD 181

Shopping centre in Turangi

Turangi is the centre of the rainbow trout industry, and advertises it on its rainwater gratings

The Huka Falls on the Waikato River, forced into a channel only a quarter of its previous width

The Waikato is NZ's longest river

The ferry crossing to Orakei Korako, known as the Hidden Valley.

Hot water algae growing in the sulphurous water (right)

The Rainbow Terrace with geyser

The Cascade Terrace

The "Elephant's Head Rock

The "Artists Palette" with a thickness of less than an inch of silica in some places

The Ruatapu cave with the pool of mirrors at the bottom

Mud pool

On the road to Te Kuiti

Te Kuiti is the "sheep shearing capital of the world" and commemorated by this huge statue at the entrance to the town (right)

Main street of Te Kuiti (below)

Entrance to Tapanui Country Home near Te Kuiti. The entrance was created by removing the centre section of a massive rock (below right)

The house at Tapanui

View from our bedroom
Day 22 - Trips from the homestay near Te Kuiti
  • Waitomo Glowworm Caves (excellent but pictures not permitted)
  • The Mangapohue natural arch (22 km. east)
  • The Marokopa falls
  • Weather: fine and warm

Leaving the Waitomo caves

The boat from which you see the glow-worms

A typical North Island scene, which could perhaps be England apart from the tall trees and the absence of hedges

Many of the landscapes in this region are filled with these small bumpy hillocks

The Mangapohue natural arch

avery impressive space as high as a cathedral. You can see glow-worms here for free at night.

The rocks in the fields nearby are full of fossil oyster shells

A fern about to unfold

The Marukopa Falls another few km. along the road

View looking back at the Tipanui homestay across their lake
Day 23 - Homestay near Te Kuiti to Rotorua

View from the dining room with the morning sun

Short stop at the Pureora Forest where they have a very tall hide (right) so that you can climb to the level of the forest canopy

and there is also an ancient steam hauler, abandoned where it broke down ages ago (below)

The road follows a succession of lakes formed by hydro dams

on Entry to "Whaka" (Te Whakarewarewa - the thermal area) from the NZ Maori Arts and Crafts Institute on Hemo Road

Maori war canoe

Detail of figure-head

Various examples of Maori craft

Maori bird-trap

The Prince of Wales geyser, precursor of the larger Pohutu geyser


Pohutu geyser in full spate

A Maori pa (fort) overlooks the termal springs

Boiling water spring

A curious dry mud mini-volcano

The Maori meeting house

where later they performed a traditional Maori ceremony for the greeting of a chief and his followers

Evening walk along the shores of Lake Rotorua

starting with the sulphurous section

and finding black swans in the freshwater section

and cormorants nesting on trees

Some people arrive by sea-plane

and there is also a war-canoe on display

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