Stray to National Park« Previous post in category · Next post in category »
Picked up the Stray bus again in Taupo, and have been on it the past 2 days. Yesterday, after a drive alongside Lake Taupo, and a supermarket stop at Turangi (famous for trout fishing), we made it to our unique overnight stop at Whakahoro. The accomodation for the night is on the Blue Duck Station, a working New Zealand Farm, which is also involved with conservation work, especially in protecting the heavily endangered Blue Duck, known as the Whio in Maori. On arriving, we get invited into the cafe and a very enthusiastic women tells us all about the farm, the conservation work and activities we can partake in. For a moment it feels like being back at school.
After settling into our accommodation for the night, I head out on a horse trek, keen to continue with my horse riding, and hopefully improve. Unfortunately, the trek was more of a walk around the farm through the rain and cloud, rather than the thrilling ride I had hoped for. It’s a great introductory ride for someone who has never ridden before and who doesn’t want to experience the thrill of riding a horse at speed, but for me it was a waste of money. Still I learned a little about the different technique they use for riding here, with very long reigns and stirrups set much lower than in the UK.
After the horse riding, I played a hilarious game of charades with fellow Stray travellers, before heading down to the cafe to try their famous goat curry. One of the activities on offer here is goat hunting, as goats are pests and their population needs to be kept down. Most goat hunters can’t take the entire goat with them, so they end up with a lot of spare goat meat at the cafe, and make terrific goat curry.
The next day we have to get up really early as the bus leaves at 6am. This is so those wanting to do the Tongariro Crossing have enough daylight hours to complete the walk. On arriving in National Park village and finding the weather really poor, those who had wanted to do the crossing today back out. Instead we do a number of short walks.
Our first stop is the Volcanic centre in Whakapapa village, which has interesting displays on the volcanos and information on local walks. Next our driver drives us up to the bottom of the ski field, where we take photos of the lava rock formations, but with the poor weather are unable to see much of Mount Ruapehu. We then take a 2hr loop walk to Taranaki Falls, and shorter walk to tawhai falls (known to Lord of the Ring fans as Gollums pool).
The rest of the day we rest in our fantasitic accommodation, making use of the hot tubs to warm up in the foul weather.« Previous post in category · Next post in category »