Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Great Outdoors

For the past few weeks spring has been touch and go around here. We had one beautiful weekend of pure sunshine so we got out all our toys and went exploring. We strapped the kayaks to the van and headed out to a nearby river to check out the bird life, and anything else we might see. Mostly it was cows, but still great to get back out on the water. A day later we jumped in our neglected dinghy for a cruise around Tauranga Harbour with a stop at nearby Matakana Island. We even found a new restaurant we could dinghy right up to. Just in time for Bloody Marys. Inspired by all this great weather, we decided to book the next weekend in the snow at Mt. Ruapehu. New Zealands active volcano Rupehu is part of the Tongariro National Park and home to some of the greatest New Zealand hikes around. We decided on the Tongariro Crossing which is a 18 Km hike crossing by two volcanoes and alpine lakes. So we made a reservation at the historic Tongariro Chateau and packed all out woolies. Well a week later the sunshine was gone and so was the famous view from our Chateau window. Fog and rain socked in and we managed to get in a few short hikes but even the two ski hills were shut down because of the fog. Instead of a grueling alpine hike we spent the weekend in the Chateau by the fireplace chatting up Kiwis and eating great food. We will try again in the summer but it wasn't all bad. Check out Scholarships newly varnished transom
The beach at Matakana island, a 10 min. dinghy ride One of the tanker terminals across from the marina
New Zealand Oyster Catchers
Tongariro Chateau on our very cloudy and foggy day
The view we should have had of the snow-capped volcanosGetting bundled up for our adventure away from the Chateau fireplace