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Ebb and Flow

Wednesday 14th October 2015

sunny 18 °C

The weather this morning was still cloudy and a little overcast but thankfully better than it had been for the previous couple of days and we could see a little more of the Tongariro peaks on the far side of the lake. We prepared breakfast in our well kitted out kitchenette and then set off towards the Huka Falls for the boat trip that we had booked a couple of days earlier. Although the booking arrangements seemed quite vague at the time, our guide David was expecting us and as there was one other couple on the boat we were going to have lots of room to move around. David introduced himself and explained a bit about the dam which was just beyond our departure point and the river system below that. We then set off up stream and were told a lot about the flora and fauna of the river. We also went past a geothermal power station. The journey up to the falls probably took us about 45 minutes and I found myself full of anticipation each time we rounded a bend.

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There was a hint when we were getting near as the water became a little more turbulent and David had to make use of both the engines on the boat in order to push against the current. Once around the final corner the waterfall was clearly visible in front of us. David expertly manoeuvred the boat much closer to the waterfall than I was expecting, giving us a great view.

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It was quite an assault on the senses; the colour of the river was a bright turquoise blue covered in a bubbling white foam from the sheer force of the water. The nearer we got the louder the noise became until it was almost thunderous.

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The boat was easily pushed back by the power of the water, but two or three times David steered it back in the direction of the falls. We were given plenty of opportunity to take as many photographs as we wanted before the boat was turned around for the last time and we made our way back up the river. At the start of the trip we had been told how the spill gates to the dam were opened regularly throughout the day in order that the cascades on the far side would, albeit temporarily, flow freely.

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We moored up just in time to go and watch the water as it started to flow out from the dam and David had given us quite precise timings in order to maximise our chance of seeing the falls in full flow. Once there, we watched the pool's fill and the water flow at full capacity, and then after about fifteen minutes or so when the gates were closed the water reduced to its former level.

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We had been keeping an eye on our watches and we made sure that we made our way up to the official lookout several miles upstream in order to watch David take his next group of tourists to view the Huka Falls. Not only was it interesting seeing the boat being manoeuvred from a different perspective, but it also gave us the opportunity to see the river above and beyond the base of the falls.

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By the time we left the river it was approaching lunch and so we made our way to a nearby glassblowing workshop that both David and Peter back at our accommodation had recommended. Once there, we watched one of the glassblowers finish off a small vase and then we went into the cafeteria and had a delicious lunch. We then watched some more glass blowing after which we went into the sculpture garden to look at some of the larger objects that have been made by Lynden Over, the owner of the workshop.

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By this time I had already decided that I would like to buy a small piece and have it sent home to England. After a lot of deliberation I settled on a pretty red scent bottle and once chosen all I needed to do was to pay and complete the shipping paperwork. Once we had finished at the glassblowing workshop we made our way back into Taupo and returned to our accommodation. Once there we had time to relax for a while and drink a cup of tea before going out again to walk by the lake. There were several places where small streams of steaming water flowed into the lake and also several places where the fringes of the lake had steam coming off.

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All of this was a salutary reminder of the fact that Taupo Lake is situated in the crater of a dormant volcano. That evening there was a beautiful sunset over the lake and so we looked at this for a while before pouring ourselves a G&T which we drank whilst sitting in the hot tub. It was Nigel's turn to cook dinner, so he did this whilst I spent some time updating the blog. Once we finished eating we both settled down to watch a film.

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Posted by Gill's Travels 01:00 Archived in New Zealand Tagged waterfalls lakes rivers new_zealand geothermal

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