Lake Taupo

Lake Taupo is - well - just a lake, a body of water totally enclosed by land. It is beautiful and the eponymous town on its shores it not too obtrusive. Above its southern shores rises the impressive snow-covered bulk of Mt Ruapeihu which blows its top from time to time and sends flocks of skiers flying for their lives.

Just south of Lake Taupo you have the start of the Desert Highway, a stretch of road which I had been warned was borning, but which I found fascinating - rough country rather than desert, but a dramatic contrast to the lush vegetation elsewhere.

As we climbed to the desert we saw a sign pointing off to Tree Trunk Gorge and ventured off (in contravention of our rental car agreement) onto a network of unpaved roads that led us first to a footbridge over a lovely stream. If you wonder why I couldn't hold the camera still, watch how the bridge bounces as I walk across!.

We then found ourselves on a road bridge beneath which was a narrow crack in the rock, through which gushed a raging torrent. To our astonishment there was a notice warning canoers and rafters to leave the river there: any sane and rational person would not have needed such a sign! Sadly, there was also a cross, indicating that more than one person has ignored the sign, with tragic consequences.

Finally we headed back to the main road, threading a way between trees felled by a strong wind the week before our visit.