Tuesday, May 17, 2016

NZ Day 6 - Huka Falls in Taupo




Look at that handsome man!

On day 6, we drove to Taupo and saw Huka Falls.
We wanted a bit more of an experience, so we also walked the loooong path to the dam.
It turned out to be 8.5 miles!
Greg had to carry my pack for me at one point because I almost started to cry.



On the way there, we saw this dog building!
No time to find out why he was there, but I captured him with my trusty camera!

A nice thing about New Zealand highways is that even though they don't usually have a passing lane, 
there were frequent passing lanes and passing bays to make things less scary for those of us who aren't used to driving at speed on windy mountain roads.



 We needed to use the toilets when we arrived at Huka Falls . . . 


and we needed 50 cents to do so! 


Here's my basic outfit for the day. 
raincoat: DKNY from TurnStyle consignment
blouse, sweater, shoes, socks: Target
pants: SoHo from Ross

The Waikato river is a beautiful greeny-blue color.




You see the sign that says, "Aratiatia Dam, 2 hr"?
That's where we went.  Two hours there, 1.5 hours back.
But we did it and weren't even too grumpy about it
(outside of the almost-crying part from me). 





It was raining when we started out and the ground was interestingly wavy. 



Greg was the intrepid explorer: 


I tend to lag behind, taking photos of everything I find pretty, strange, or interesting.


Like moss:


mossy sticks: 


Trees! 


Blue water: 


Greg took lots of photos, too.
It was a beautiful area with not too many other people. 






We heard lots of interesting bird sounds.
This is a Tui.


Every once in a while, we'd come around a corner and see through the trees
to the river, which was gurgling along beautifully next to the path.


Greg often surprises me! 





I ate my picnic on this fallen tree.




We came across these stones? tree nubs? embedded in the dirt. 


Don't they look like a dinosaur spine?


This was the most beautiful and peaceful place we found that day. 






We kept walking and eventually started seeing signs that we were nearing our target.


But alas, not there yet!




Next were the squash fields!



Mountains behind me!


Or a dirt wall, depending on which way I stood! 


Spiderwebs in the fallen trees: 



And then we were on to the flatish lands with spiky cacti plants.


And a bird egg! 


And orange fungi! 



And then the landscape changed AGAIN - to a sort of Dr. Seussian rainforesty cactus garden. 




And THEN we finally arrived at the dam! 


It is only open sometimes, and it was open when we walked up. 






Look at the color of that water!!! 




We learned a little more about how the dam works.


And I was delighted to see these baby kiwi cut-outs on the back of a bus!!!
They put these there instead of a normal metal grill.



And yet, we decided to go up a steep hill to the top viewpoint to see the dam from yet another angle.




It was worth it even though I whimpered a little. 




And then, back to Huka Falls we walked, hoping it would go a little quicker on the way back if we really made an effort.  We wanted to make sure to check into our hotel before it was too late. 


I love these little mushrooms!  (to LOOK at, not eat!) 


Someone in the carpark is a fusspot!!!


We ended up getting a frozen pizza for Greg that night and it worked great.  I think we probably collapsed quite early after all that wonderful fresh air with gorgeous visions of what we'd seen that day playing before our eyes.

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