We weren’t suffering as much as expected after the doing Tongariro but wanted to loosen up a bit, and as it was another lovely day we went up to Whakapapa (bear in mind that the Maori pronunciation of ‘wh’ is ‘f’) and did a short 2 hour walk from there. Whakapapa is the end of the road where you get a ski lift up to the slopes of Ruapehu, a big skiing resort and another location for the Lord of the Rings movie. It’s also the home of the famous Chateau Tongariro built in 1929, a rather grand hotel, chandeliers and all.
|Looking one way towards the misty slopes of Mt Ngauruhoe . . .|
|. . . and the other way towards Mt Ruapehu|
|Crossing a bridge over the river|
|The Taranaki Falls|
|From the shore of Lake Rotopounamu|
|Looking down on the beautiful symmetry of the tree fern|
The path takes us along the beach in a couple of places and we realise it’s all made of pumice stone which floats on the lake. All very strange and we end up with pockets full of pumice stone to bring home. It’s very peaceful here with just a few ducks to keep us company and a few other birds hiding in the trees. The rain begins to fall gently as we get back to the car, but by the time we reach Taupo it’s chucking it down. We stop for lunch then continue the 4 hour drive back to Auckland.