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Christo’s Weekend in Lake Taupo January 21, 2013

Posted by ccarsca6 in Travel Log.

Jan. 17,

We had an early bus ride that left at 8 am from next to Kelburn Park. On the way up to Lake Taupo, we took notes in our field journals for Bio 2100. We had lunch in Taihapi and later stopped at the Whakapapa Visitor center to do more 2100 work. After that we just finished our ride into Lake Taupo.

Once we arrived, Dan Bowman and I took a nap in our room. All of our alarms failed and we missed dinner. We ended up getting the dregs of what was left. Oh well. After that Raj, Colin, Angelena and I went into town to explore. Along the walk we got to take pictures of a beautiful sunset and the small hot springs along the shoreline of the lake along with some ducklings.

Sunset over Taupo

Lake Taupo is one of the super-volcanoes of the world. The lake, which is the size of Singapore, is really just a crater lake that used to be the top of a volcano. This explains all of the thermal activity in the area.

We found a pub in town actually met some Americans on a big tour. After a while, we caught a taxi back because the walk was so long and the weather was cold and windy.

Jan. 18,

The next morning, at the usual 8 am, we headed out for our hike through Tongariro National Park. Since one of the volcanoes is currently very active and recently erupted, the usual trail we would take was closed. Instead we hiked up towards the backside of Mt. Ngaurahoe, aka Mt. Doom from Lord of The Rings. We had demanding and yet fabulous weather. After hiking through a beech forest, we entered an arid climate on top of a lava flow. At one point we were being sleeted on which was pretty cool. The hike ended on a high and very windy ridge in between the upper and lower Tama lakes. What a beautiful site. This was the first time the program had made this hike without cloud cover. Everything was in clear view and Dr. Garton was the happiest I’ve ever seen him.

Mt. Ruapehu in the Distance

Mount Nguarahoe and Upper Tama Lake

After hiking we headed back to the hotel. The group went out to dinner at The Shed and we got steak. We had a great time there and then went back to the hotel and crashed.

Dinner at the Shed
Dinner at the Shed

Jan. 19,

At 8 am of course, we were on our way to see more sights on the tour bus. We stopped at a road cut to look at the layers of rock, a geothermal power station, and a bubbling geothermal area called Craters of the Moon. Lastly we stopped by Huka Falls. This is near where the Waikato River drains Lake Taupo. The falls are enormous! They let our 100 cubic meters of water a second during the spring snowmelt!

The Waikato River just before the falls
The Waikato River just before the falls

After our educational trip was over, it was time for some relaxation. Colin, Raj, Angelena, Shelly, Chris, Andrew, and I all chartered a fishing boat and went out to try our luck at fishing for rainbow trout on Lake Taupo. For the first five of our six hours on the boat, we caught nothing. I was about to blame my families luck with fishing before we caught four fish in the last hour. We ended up being able to keep three of them. Once we were off the boat, we headed to a restaurant where they cooked the fish up for us. The only way you can eat trout in NZ is if you catch them and take them to a restaurant! Crazy huh?

Raj's big catch!
Raj’s big catch!

Angelena, Raj, Shelly and I walked back in the dark. Raj and I tried our luck at a hole in one challenge and failed miserably like we expected. After that we walked to where the hot springs made small pools that drained into the lake. We got in and chatted with some locals before heading back for a good nights sleep.

Jan. 20,

The next day of course started at the same time and we were on our journey back home. We stopped for a bunch of 2100 field journey entries and scenic outlooks. I don’t think I’ve ever taken so many pictures of the same mountains in my life. We finally made it back to our home in Wellington, after which pretty much everyone fell asleep.

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