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Roaring Girl
The adventures of the yacht Roaring Girl wandering the seas.
A river runs through it

Nowhere on the walk were we far from the sound of water. The Whirinaki Falls tumble into this beautiful pool, as seen from the path above.
Sarah used this as a training session for her plans to walk the Queen Charlotte Track later in this trip. So she filled the backpack up with some of the heaviest stuff in Puff and walked quite fast. Pip, who has no intention of tackling a multi-day tramp, womanfully came too, with a lighter pack. However, Sarah might be training alone some of the time!

Places and people
Epiphytes again

Above us, the height of a tall building, air plants are making their homes.
This is a very important forest for the local iwi (tribe), who have lived here as long as the oldest trees in the bush and have a profound spiritual relationship with it. The village is now responsible for the conservation and enhancement of the Forest Park and have a large scale programme incorporating improvements in the school, medical research and a management-learning programme called Tipu Ake.

Places and people
The finest forest in Aotearoa?
23/02/2008, Whirinaki Forest Park

Further east, outside the tiny village of Minignui, deep in the World Heritage forests of Te Urewera, is the stretch of bush known as Whirinaki Forest Park. Our walk book recommended a nine kilometre hike along a loop track to the waterfall, and declared this finest stretch of podocarp forest in the country. We are inclined to agree. It is full of magnificent trees, and epitomises the layering of mature rainforest.
This picture barely begins to capture the majesty of the climactic podocarp, the great groves of punga ferns and the lush shrubs below. The birds are busy throughout the trees, and all the time leaves fall gently.

Places and people
A fisher in hot mud

All our time in Orakei Korako, it rained.
The birds didn't seem to mind. When we left, after about two hours wandering in this enchanting region, the warm mud at the bottom of the Emerald Terraces on the edge of the lake, was full of ducks. Among them stood this heron (or maybe a shag) waiting patiently for some unseen signal to start his day of fishing.

Places and people
Rift Valley

The Happy Valley lies on the great fault that runs from Taupo to the sea. This picture shows one small section of another the fault escarpments created in the first century eruption.
For the first people who found this secret place, it must have been truly frightening. It isn't surprising that the Maori speak of a taniwha, water monster, living in the river below.

Places and people
Eerie landscape

It is difficult, within our photographic skills, to capture the strangeness of this landscape. It is wreathed in smoke, painted in strange and vibrant colours and carved into fantastic shapes. There are enormous holes, sides slick smooth, at the bottom of which bubbles hot mud. Elsewhere, cliffs polished to shining white, hide funnels or caves which belch out hot steam, and gurgle before gushing plumes of water that fills the air with the stench of sulphur.

Places and people
Details of the colours

Closer up you can see the manifold colours left by the waters.

Places and people
Kakariki: the Emerald Terraces

The first section of the Happy Valley is these huge terraces, one of the three fault escarpments created by the nearby eruption of Mount Taupo in 131AD. They are painted in all sorts of colours by the algae that live in the hot water that is covering the rock, ejected from the geysers, fumeroles and hot streams that run through the area. A lot of water: 20 million litres a day cross these rocks, though it looks like it is trickling into the lake.

Places and people
Lake Ohakuri

This lake was created when the River Waikato was dammed and managed for hydro electricity. Before that, this was a fast running river, and visitors were paddled across in a canoe. Today it's a nippy little launch.
Pip had been here before, and made sure we got up really early, to get the first trip across. A great thing to do, as we had the area to ourselves for over an hour. It is, by the way, excellent value: NZD28 each (about 12GBP) including the ferry and, for us, a night's parking with use of toilets!

Places and people
Blue 'moorhens'

The water lilies are surely introduced, but the pukeko love them, splaying out their big red feet as they peck at the insects on the leaves.

Places and people
Sarah's first ever geyser
22/02/2008, Orakei Korako

We parked for the night in the car park of this little resort (with full permission), across the lake from the geothermal area,
While walking around we saw this geyser take off on the hills.
In fact, there's thermal activity everywhere, with a smoking mud pool just beside the car park, feeding a scaldingly hot stream that runs into the lake.

Places and people
Oh yes and the wine!

Here's Arthur and Joan toasting with the excellent Hawkes Bay chardonnay.
After the racing we headed off, making for the extraordinary geothermal areas further north.

Places and people

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Who we are
Who: Pip Harris and Sarah Tanburn
Port: Ipswich
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