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Published: December 13th 2017
Geo: -38.6866, 176.07
We are doing our usual - squeezing in so much beauty.
When we started the day we worried about the weather, but the special weather touch came thru as usual and we were so blessed. Found the National Park - the first in NZ and evidently the 4th in the world - gifted by the Maori chief to the nation over 100 years ago.
We asked for a recommendation for a 2 hour walk - a loop to see the Taranaki Falls, with views to the 2 super volcanic peaks. Well, when we arrived we saw lots of clouds covering the peaks, Mt. Ngauruhoe (7500'😉 and Mt. Ruapehu (9176'😉, (highest pt on N Island) -- by the time we were 20 mins into the hike we saw the highest peaks pop into the sun peak by peak. That is the skiing area. It was so white.
Then we walked into the foresty area, up and down and up and down, to find the waterfalls. It may have been raining then, or it might have just been the mist. By the time we climbed up we stopped for some crisps and choc and the sun came out again. And then we watched patiently as every single cloud slowly rose up the slopes and revealed Mt. Ngauruhoe - "Mount Doom" as the Lord of the Rings movies named it.
Phew! After a long visit to the Info Center, we visited the posh Chateau and had tea and scones, strawberry jam & almost-cream tea.
Renewed, we drove home, happy to stop in the scenic viewing spots which weren't so clear in the am.
David allowed me my longed-for dip in the "thermal pool" on the property - this water comes directly from the ground and it was almost too hot to get into. I am sure it eased all those sore joints though.
Then we found a fish and chip shop and here we are - spent!
What a thrilling time we are having in this beautiful country.
One thing to note - on the drive to the National Park (1 hr 15) we had only about 4 other cars going in our direction. Occasionally David makes U turns on the main road to go back to see something! 1/3 of the entire population lives in Auckland, so the rest of the country is not very populated. We are getting very spoiled: no trash, no traffic.
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