Raiatea/Bora Bora/Moorea/Tahiti

Wanganui/New Plymouth/Taupo

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Before leaving Wanganui on Sunday morning, February 11th, we went to the top of Durie Hill, where we took photos of Wanganui and river of the same name.  We were able to see Mt. Ruapehu in the distance (the one we couldn’t see because of rain yesterday).  The mountain is about 100 km from Wanganui.  We then drove into the Egmont National Park, where we saw Dawson Falls.  Mt. Egmont was totally covered in clouds.  We traveled south and drove west on Surf Highway 45, which goes around Mt. Egmont in a large half circle.  We stopped to see beaches at Opunake (Mt. Egmont was partially visible there) and also beaches at Oakura.  We arrived in New Plymouth and checked into our B & B.  It was called 93 By The Sea and had views of the Tasman Sea and also beautiful gardens just off the breakfast area.  We took a long walk along the Foreshore Coastal Walkway and saw an interesting thing called a Wind Wand that bends to show the wind direction.  After dinner we went to Pukekura Park and Brooklands Park.  There we saw a special light display that used colored lights and laser lights.  The view of Mt.  Egmont from the tea house was very nice and the parks were pretty.  On Monday, the 12th, after an interesting conversation at breakfast with our host Pat about U.S.  politics, we drove from New Plymouth to Waitomo Caves.  These are limestone caves with glowworms unique to New Zealand that can be seen hanging from the ceilings of the caves.  They didn’t allow any photos of the glowworms, so we bought a postcard and will have to add it to our photos when we get home.  After our cave visit, we drove to Lake Taupo, where we spent the night at a lodge right on the lake.  We had a nice dip in the outdoor thermal pool at the lodge.  The temp was about 35 degrees C, so about 100 F.  It was very relaxing.  We received an email from Constable Rhys Dempster concerning the bus that hit us at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds.  They could not locate the bus (no surprise).  He said he “hoped our holiday had improved.”  We’ll have to deal with it when we return the rental car in Auckland at the end of our travels in New Zealand.  Tuesday, February 13th was a beautiful, sunny day.  We left Taupo early to go to the Tongariro National Park to see the mountains.  There are three: Mt. Tongariro at 6,457 ft., Mt. Ngauruhoe (Mt. Doom in LOTR) at 7,516 ft. and Mt. Ruapehu at 9,176 ft.  This volcanic plateau was the site that depicted Mordor in LOTR.  We rode up two chair lifts at the ski area on Mt. Ruapehu and had a snack at New Zealand’s highest cafe, the Knoll Ridge Cafe at 6,627 ft.  We then drove to Levin, where we are spending the night at a B & B.

Wanganui and river from Durie Hill

Mt. Ruapehu from Durie Hill

Dawson Falls

Beach at Opunake

Can finally see Mt. Egmont at Opunake

Beach at Oakura

Gardens at 93 By the Sea, New Plymouth

Wind Wand on Foreshore Coastal Walkway

Zoomed in on Mt. Egmont

Light display in Pukekura Park

Zoomed in on Mt. Egmont

Mt. Egmont on 2/12 leaving New Plymouth

Exiting Waitomo Glowworm Cave

View of Lake Taupo from Clearwater Lodge, Room 4

In the thermal pool at Clearwater Lodge

Sunset from our room at Lake Taupo

Riding the chair lift to Mt. Ruapehu

Restaurant at end of chair lift

Having a snack at the restaurant

Mt. Ngauruhoe

Mt. Ruapehu from the south

© Jay Deitch 2020