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Tracey’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 11 Apr 2007

Location: Hastings, New Zealand

MapWe are back apple picking now. We had a week off because last Tuesday we went to work as usual at 7am and were told the apples were not ready for picking. Then later in the day we were told that the apples would not be ready till after Easter. So we headed straight to Taupo after we heard the news after having spent the day in a couple of wineries and a brewery. Taupo had a very large lake with trout in and a very interesting part of one day was going to a trout centre on the Tongariro river where we learnt all about trout. Mainly there are rainbow trout but you might now and again catch a brown one. Both types of trout were introduced to the lake.

The day before we also visited another waterfall, walked the craters of the moon (which was alot of steam and bubble pools and was a bit of a let down after going to White Island), and saw spectacular views of a geothermal power station.

We went white water rafting down the Tongariro river. We were sat at the front which was the best place. The river was a grade three and having never done white water rafting before I was a little disappointed that it wasn't a little more scary. Also the food afterwards was also a bit of a let down - they went to very little expense - there was just enough for a sandwich for each person.

We did the Tongariro crossing on the Friday and we had beautiful weather for it. Here is where some of The Lord of the Rings was filmed. We walked up the active volcano which was Mount Doom in the film. To get up the mountain we had to walk through volcanic ash and lots of scree. We were the first to head back down Mount Doom and the fastest way was sliding down on your bottom down the scree avoiding the track that people were walking up which Sharron did most of the way. I did less sliding though as I did not want to wear a hole in my trousers and cause too much erosion. Hopefully in about 6 months time there will be some pictures of the emerald lakes for you to see.

From the Tongariro crossing we headed for New Plymouth taking the Lost World Highway. We had our passport stamped in the Republic of Whangamomona who have declared themselves not part of New Zealand but it probably is just a gimic to get the tourists to come. We also stopped at Stratford where we saw Romeo and Juliet come out of the black and white clock tower at 3pm and perform for about 5 minutes. Here we also had quite a big icecream for a $1.20. The Gold Rush Ice cream is quite good which made with Crunchie bars. At New Plymouth we saw the Wind Wand based on artwork of Len Lye which is a bit disappointing but perhaps would have been better if it had been windy. Also went to the art gallery and the next two days we went to a gallery as well. As we had done the most North and most East lighthouse we also went to the most West lighthouse of the North Island. Internet time running outs so bye for now.