12 March 2018, Monday.
A happy sunny morning at Lake Taupo.
Heading to Paddle and Spoon for breakfast.
People enjoying breakfast on benches outside the building.
We placed our order at this indoor counter.
Took snapshots while waiting for breakfast.
We were astonished with the wonderful breakfast that was delivered to our table.
My wife love her egg benedict.
Our pictures while enjoying breakfast.
After breakfast, we drove pass Lake Taupo… Stopped to observe Hole in One attempt.
30 minutes drive, we were at Lake Aratiatia – Aratiatia River Dam.
This is where Waikato River begin. (The far end, water flow out via Huka Fall. On this near end, a dam was build across the river and water was released on scheduled timing.)
The pool of quiet water just outside the dam.
There are three Lookout points for the water release (namely at the dam, Lower Lookout and a upper lookout which is furthest way from the dam). People gathered at the Lower Lookout.
From Lookout point…we could see the dam and the pool of quiet water below us.
And the far Upper Lookout point.
At 12 noon…. Warning Alarm and followed by water released.
It took a while to fill up the pool in front of dam before water was seen flowing down the gorge.
Waited…and water finally reached to beneath our Lower Lookout Point.
At last, the entire gorge was filled up with aggressive flowing water.
A 5 mins Video clip showing the whole process of water flooding the gorge.
After observing the Aratiatia water release, we headed towards Wairakei Natural Thermal Valley…. Arriving at the entrance office.
“On this Site in 1897 Nothing Happened”
After paying NZ$10 ppax entrance fee…. the owner gave us this guiding map
Relaxing moment before expedition.
5 mins walk through the forest and we were greeted by the open Thermal Valley
At the base of Thermal Valley
At the Thermal Valley Bridge
The opposite ridge of Thermal Valley
Scaling the opposite ridge.
We could see vent hole everywhere…
A video clip of gas venting out from the ground.
The better survivor on the hot earth…
On the returned path… we crossed a bridge to region called Devils Throat.
We are surprised to find a lot of grapes growing naturally on this heated earth.
On the broken signboard of Devils Throat … We wondered if this was placed intentionally by owner of some random placement by visitors ?
On the walk path to the cafe / office…. delighted to see friendly animals.
Feeding the sheep…..
…other birds and animals roaming freely around the compound.
We bid good bye to Thermal Valley and made our way back to Aratiatia Dam for the 1400 hrs water release.
Quiet Dam Just before water release…
Aggressive flow with spill gate open….
Flowing downstream towards the Lower Lookout Point.
A video clip showing water release at the dam…
A lot of interesting disturbance while filming…
1430 hrs…. we were on our way to Craters of the Moon. We had our admission tickets @NZ$8 ppax and start our exploration.
Initial impression – wide stretch of smoky grassland
amid back drops of blue ridge mountain.
Smoky front varies. Spares zone….
Intense fumes and spot of thick fumes….
Zoomed in…. grassy field with emitting fumes…
Warning signs before entering the crater zone
There are craters everywhere…. pictures of some impressive craters.
And standing land strip between two smoky craters…
Our exploration at this large crater with smoky rim
Exit from crater exploration
Running from an erupting craters ????
And unique Mud Crater.
No watery mud… only dried up crust
Zoom in video on Mud Crater
and an expressive video @ Mud crater
Interesting vegetation with tiny leaves surviving on the hot earth.
It started to drizzle a little as we exit Craters of the Moon. It was only few minutes drive to Huka Fall. A little bridge across Waikato River…
Looking in the direction of Lake Aratiatia…it was relatively quiet water further upstream.
In the direction of Huka Fall…it was Ferocious Flow.
A little documentation on the Huka Fall…
I did a little search into why Huka fall was extremely aggressive. The width of Waikato River was down by several times at the section just before Huka fall. The same volume of water flowing through a zone 5 to 10 times narrower and this account for the ferocious Flow.
Our last event of the day was cruising Lake Taupo – for the Maori Rock Carvings. A short 30 minutes drive and we were at the little Harbor sited at the mouth of Waikato River.
Absolute clear water with a thick vegetation on the river bed.
We were weighing between Chris Jolly and Ernest Kemp…and my wife decided …
And we were off….and Ernest Kemp Cruise ship followed some distance behind.
Saw another mode of transportation along the river bank
Shortly, we were out cruising on Lake Taupo….The captain told us to look out for sleeping beauty !
Arrived at Maori Rock Carving Site. Creative work done between 1976-1980.
And there smaller craving but those does not stand out.
Our Photo with the Craving…
We had a longer stop at the Rock Craving site…. there are quite a lot of sea birds.
Cruise members doing bird feeding.
After the cruise, it was dinner time. MacDonald look interesting… but nope…
We recall having good dinner @ Lone Star Invercargill years ago… and decided to try Lone Star Lake Taupo.
Warm Orange ambient…very relaxing
Cold Beer and Hot Tea….
Delicious Ribs and Juicy steak…very good dinner.
My wife thought food was too delicious … she had to tell her friends….post a picture of Lone Star on facebook…
End of Day 3 :
We started the day with very good breakfast @ Paddle and spoon and end the day with very delicious dinner at Lone Star.
We had a very enjoyable day …. a day of Water and Fire
– water release from Aratiatia dam and very aggressive water flow at Huka Fall.
– Yes, we were on land of fire. First @ Thermal Valley – a breathtaking view of valley full of smoky vent holes with good surviving vegetation. And the significantly larger scale craters experience @ Craters of the Moon.
Return to : NZ North Island Day 2
Continue to : NZ North Island Day 4