In my last entry I mentioned we were on our way to Tongariro National Park. We started the day with something different Geocaching. In short this is treasure hunting using a GPS system. A way to get geeky people out into nature. We had selected two caches. The first one was at Wairakei Park. A gentle walk lulled us into a sense of easy. Then the real news came. The cache was only 200m away THAT! way. THAT way was a hill, a somewhat steep hill and the cache was suspected to be at the top. We found a path. Well it was a mountain bike trail really, so the whole way we were hoping that no bikes would be coming from the top downwards while we were walking upwards. The crash would have been substantial. Fortunately nothing like that happened the only crash that happened was me. It was just so steep I had to take a break. We made it to the top and we found the cache. My first cache! it was so much fun to do We decided to find another one at the Huka Falls That one was simpler to find. Then we went to the Craters of the moon. Despite the rain it was awesome and entertaining.
After lunch we headed out to Tongariro National Park As expected it was impressive.
The volcanoes still standing there in full glory against a bright blue sky, as if cut out of cardboard and filmed against a blue screen. We arrived at the Chateau hotel around dinnertime and after a bath and relaxation (looking after some blisters on feet that is) we had a great yet late dinner. The next morning we were due to drive to Wellington to see Ty. We decided to make it an easy morning. The all of a sudden we heard this noise We thought noisy neighbours. Until we opened the Windows. “This is a lahar alert, please leave the village a lahar is coming, please leave the village”” followed by a siren and the same message again.
Oh deary me. Houston we have a problem. What to take quick thinking passports mobile money and we were on our way to the door. Then we heard “The village is now safe, it is safe to return to the village” Phew! that was close. We were told it was a false alarm in the hotel but was it? Barely two weeks later the lahar did come. Here are some pictures>http://search.tvnz.co.nz/photogallery/redirect.php?gallery=780″>pictures and an article on what it is. So this begs the question was it a false alarm or was it a very close call? My money is on the second one.
Mt Ruapehu has been dormant for 10 years. I know as the last eruption was in 1996 just before I emigrated, the bursting of the lahar now just after I left. Coincidence?
Anyway after that little incident we drove up Bruce McLaren road to Whapapapa ski fields, Very bare at that stage but magnificent and intimidating. For me Mt Ruapehu is a personification of NZ. In it is captures the beauty of the country and the huge earth forces there. It is stunning and intimidating at the same time.
Off we went to Wellington for a two day three night visit to Ty. On saturday we went to Te papa the national museum a must for every tourist. a tour de Wellington by car was followed by dinner. On Sunday we went to see Kaitoke (Rivendell) and the stonehenge aoteraroa a working observatory I did not know what to expect but in fact we had a great afternoon there with a mix of astronomy, astrology, science and history and a lot of sunshine. It is worth a visit to those wanting to visit New Zealand. Then it was goodbye to Ty. She as per usual has been an awesome host and good friend to both of us.
Waitomo caves were next on our list Staying in the Waitomo Cave Hotel was……………and experience. I was expecting Basil fawlty any minute. Not one I would recommend. The glowworms are though We did not go black water rafting as it was to cold really. Next a visit to the mount (maunganui) where I purchased a beautiful blouse by Annah Stratton. My kinda Red in satin One of those garments that you see and just have to have.
Auckland was next for some purchases I did return to the Raos gallery to buy my paperweight They still had it. Other purchases included sushi and a scarf.
Then it was time to leave. Saying goodbye to my two friends at the airport was hard. I had a cry of course having to say goodbye to them especially tiaremaori. The fights were long and apart form a crying sick child on leg one uneventful.
At present I am at my parents place nurturing a bad cold as a result from the jetlag and coming home to a flu epidemic
My NZ life is over My NL life is starting. Exciting times!