Tuesday 29 November – Tongariro National Park Forest Walk

I hope this posting will reward you for lack of pics yesterday!

I am still at Leigh’s apartment in Ohakune. I woke to the cockerel crowing just outside my window and it was wet first thing but dried up a bit later. Leigh went off to work at the college at 7am after bringing me a nice mug of tea… she is so good!

I lay in for a bit then later called into College to get printout of flight confirmation and door key. Leigh was very busy with meetings so I left to amuse myself for the day.

This is not the cockerel but a song thrush singing away as I passed by.

First off to town, to the Tourist Information Centre where I got a map of the area. I asked about circular walks and was pointed towards the Mangawhero River path which led to the edge of the Tongariro National Park. But first I had to take quite a long road through town and out towards the river.

The May trees looked fantastic…. strange, shouldn’they be November Trees??

I passed by the restaurant where we had had dinner the evening before with Sue….

This is the cafe where Leigh took me on my first day in Ohakune….

Here is the Mangawhero River…..

Wild flowers abound as I followed the path along the river up towards the National Park.

As I had come with neither water nor phone, I did question to myself whether I should turn back here and return more equipped for the walk. However there was a cafe/bar by the Railway Junction. I tried the door but it was closed. However someone appeared from round the back and said they didn’t open til 4. I asked if he knew where i could get some water and he very kindly opened up for me and gave me a large paper cup of water. So I decided to proceed, after all the forest circular was only about an hour.

At last I arrived at the entrance to the National Park and a sign which indicated that the Forest Walk was circular and lasted an hour. Great this would be just right as the day was now brightening.

It felt a little spooky as I entered the forest as there wasn’t a sound, not an animal or bird, or even a human….

…..but as I proceeded along the peaty winding path through the tree ferns, my mind was drawn as ever to the wonders of nature, the curling fronds of the spring ferns, dappled light across the pathway and the trickle of water through little cracks in the rocks….

I noticed the path getting steeper and steeper then it curved around to the right so I thought I must be nearing halfway. The path eventually took me across a road as it began to descend again.

Eventually the path opened out into the area where I had first joined it and I made my way along Railway Row to join Ruapehu Road on the other side of Ohakune from the way I’d come. Here there were some little houses typical of NZ style which I imagined were empty but used during the ski season…. everywhere was so quiet, no cars or people on the road.

I thought I should photograph the railway track as I passed over the bridge. The train only goes one way in NZ it would seem… the single track demonstrates how few trains there are. Most transport is by road athough you wouldn’t think it. The roads are very quiet too outside of cities in NZ. You don’t see many aeroplanes about either!

….more flowers…..

This looked very much like bramble blossom, but slightly different from that in the UK…

As I turned into Ruapehu Road, I caught sight of the familiar grey horse quite near to Leigh’s house and wandered over to give him a pat as he called to me.

It was good to get back and, very hungry and thirsty after my trek, I found one of Dan’s Bundaberg Ginger Beers in the fridge and made some peanut butter on toast.

In the evening I took Leigh and Dan out for dinner to Sassi’s. I can’t thank you enough for everything you have done for me during my stay in New Zealand! And of course you know you are always welcome back in the UK!

The restaurant was run by a couple from Newcastle and they were about to close for Christmas as the season here is quiet.

As we left the restaurant, Leigh noticed the pink sunset glow over the mountain… how beautiful it was!

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2 Responses to Tuesday 29 November – Tongariro National Park Forest Walk

  1. Leigh says:

    Very poetical Maureen! It has been a pleasure to have you here! Come back one day.

  2. Kylie Spencer says:

    These photos are wonderful!! I’m glad you ventured into the wilderness… I have such a hunger for your photos now…. Leigh- what an awesome job you did!! You’re such a legend!!

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