photos by Don & Lois Porter

Sat. 10/20: Bus left at 8 AM for Taupo. Wonderful "unscheduled" bush walk in rain forest, on the Aranui walkway near the Ruakuri Cave. Lunch at Waitomo Café. Field trip and on-site lecture on Limestone Caves and glowworms at Waitomo Caves. We arrived at Twin Peaks Motor Inn, Lake Taupo, around 5 PM. Had on-site orientation and dinner on site.

Sun. 10/21: Ian lectured on the "history of Taupo". We had morning tea, then walked to the Taupo Museum and we were on our own until lunch in the conference room at 12:30. 2 PM lecture by two folks (Bett and Faye) from the "Forest and Bird Society" followed by a field trip to the Taupo Botanic Gardens accompanied by Bett and Faye who explained the plant life -- many native plants plus a spectacular array of blooming azaleas and rhododendrons. Dinner in private homes.

Mon. 10/22: Free day. We rented bikes and rode them to Huka Falls and back, then as far around the lake as it was feasible to go. Occasional showers. Excellent morning. Others went fishing or boating. Ate lunch at Santorini, a Greek restaurant -- good! Looked around in shops, back at motel at 4 pm to rest prior to dinner at 5:45 PM at the Sun Court Motor Lodge.

Tues. 10/23: Bus left at 8:45 AM for all-day excursion to Tongariro World Heritage Park and Lake Rotopounamu. Had picnic lunch at the summit of the ski area. Enjoyed the arctic plants on tundra-like ground on way down from summit to the Chateau. Nice museum, beautiful weather at the Chateau. Great views of the mountains with snow. Returned to hotel around 5 PM. Dinner at Ploughmans at 5:45 PM. Bus to De Bretts Thermal Pool for bathing at 7:45 PM. Wonderful!

Wed. 10/24: Left early to attend Rainbow Springs farm show (lots of fun: dogs herding sheep, sheep shearing, Carole on top of a bull, feeding sheep and lambs). Then wildlife tour of Rainbow Springs, including Paradise Duck (imprinted on the guide) and a kiwi chick (via video), and ancient lizards (tuatara) as well as kea birds. Lunch in very cold restaurant. Then to Maori Village in Rotorua where we saw dancing, singing, good haka, toured the village, watched the guide make the beginnings of a "grass" skirt out of a flax plant. Terrific! Dinner at the motel followed by a lecture by Leanne Fraser, Dept of Conservation regarding Tongariro National Park and the Lake Taupo area.

Thurs. 10/25: Bus left at 8:45 for Volcanic Center. Lecture by Peter Otway. After morning tea, we went to the Wairakei Geothermal Area and had an on-site talk by Russell James. Visited Huka Falls. Lunch at Wairakei Hotel. Wonderful visit to "Craters of the Moon". Saw a bungy jumper en route to the motel. Arrived around 5:15 PM and left at 6:30 PM for a joint dinner with the people who had invited all of us to dinner at the Taupo Women's Clubrooms. Very pleasant indeed.

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Ian lecturing enthusiastically Don in Taupo town park Twin Peaks Motor Inn (our room is the right hand windows) Mount Ruapehu across Lake Taupo from our room
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Val, Ian, and Gordon (our chieftain) Dinner at the Ploughman's restaurant De Bretts Thermal Pool Bungee jumper strapping in
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What the bungee jumper sees as he looks down Bungee jumper near the end of his rope Farewell dinner in Taupo

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