25. März 2000 - Walking on the moon

It's hard to say what the highlight of the last two weeks was, there's been so many. We've driven down through Rotorua and around the thermal lakes and geysers where you find steaming pools, boiling mud and amazing coloured lakes around every corner. Then it was on to Taupo, home of the great lake. There we rafted down many of the rivers leading to the lake, whilst bunjee jumpers leapt from above to be plunged up to the waist in water before shooting up into the sky again.

From there we drove to the Tongariro national park and walked "New Zealands best one day walk". The walk takes you between the Ngaurohue and Ruahupeu volcanoes and along ridges of extinct volcano craters, some now filled with lakes.
Most of the time the landscape was like walking on the moon with no vegetation to cover the mountains. But as we battled up a vertical scree slope with a hurricene wind against us there was no time to appreciate the lunar surroundings. All concentration was centred on trying to stay on the mountain and not be blown off to pluto.

Luckily over the ridge the wind had decided to admit defeat and leave us on the mountain, so we managed to enjoy lunch in a sheltered spot by the amazingly green emerald lakes. From there on it was a all downhill back to the van.

On the road again and off to the next volcano, Mount Taranaki, which is right on the west coast so there are beautiful views of the volcano from the ocean and amazing views of the whole coast line from the volcano. But only if it is not pouring with rain and covered in cloud. At least we saw the many brochures and leaflets of how it looks on a sunny day.

Now we're in the windy city, Wellington, and it's living up to it's name giving Rupert plenty of windsurfing opportunities. In a couple of days we're catching the ferry to the south island where we'll be in touch again....


 Rafting by Lake Taupo

Mount Ngauruhoe

the emerald lakes

"pole position"