Hi from Taoru,N Z,
What a day! We drove over from Tauranga ..on theeast coast to Rotorua and then on down to Lake Taupo. Rorotaura has geysers and hot pots much like Yellowstone Park. We didn't stay in Rotoraura long as we have seen that type of thing. We wanted to experience something different. There was some beautiful vegetation in the area
Driving down to Lake Taupo was very easy and a very pretty drive of rolling hills, ferns and Palms...but the closer we got to Taupo it was more and more pine trees much like at home. Pine Trees are not native to New Zealand they were all hand planted by cheap labor ..prison convicts. We thought it was strange seeing pine trees after seeing so much tropical vegetation. The pine trees grow to cutting size for lumber and paper in 25 to 30 years.
Our main goal was to find the Maori Rock Carvings we heard about at Lake Taupo. Being an artist I just t HAD to see them.
The Lake is in about the middle of the North Island of New Zealand. We got in at about 2 PM drove around and asked how to find them, We found out that you had to take a boat out into the water and to see the carvings. On to the information center we went and they said the last boat had sailed at 2 PM and we had "just missed the boat" story of my life.....the next to sail to the carvings was at 10:30 AM the next morning. Since we drove all the way to see them we decided to stay the night at the town of Taupo.
Disappointed we checked into our room then drove over to the booking office to set up a boat excursion for the next morning.
When we arrived there .....the lady at the desk said there WAS a boat going out at 5PM. Yay!!
We got out tickets and showed up at 5PM and were welcomed by Skipper Bill Dawson.. owner of the Barbary...a 40 ft sailing boat. We were the only ones on the cruise so had a private 2 1/2 hour cruise on the lake to see the carvings.
The Barbary a wooden boat was built and raced in California in 1926 once owned by Errol Flynn,a Hollywood actor of the 1930s and sailed the world arriving in New Zealand from Fiji in 1947,refitted and joined Greenpeace anti-nuclear protests of Mururoa Atoll in the Pacific Ocean 1973. http://www.barbary.co.nz/
The boat was almost destroyed when it slipped from its moorings in a storm in Auckland. Bill bought the Barbary with a friend with the idea of sailing it to America some day. His friend died at a young age but he kept on and carefully rebuilt the Barbary.
Captain Bill was great to talk to and had lived in Fort Collins ,Co for a time ..He is a native New Zealander though. We sailed under full sail out to the carvings. It was getting stormy but he had warm coats and hats for us to wear.
I took some pictures as it was moving towards sunset.
A storm was coming in so we sailed back via with the boats engine to get back faster . It was actually a very nice trip...we felt totally safe in his hands. Bill told us about how Maori and how they owned most of the land around Lake Taupo and all the mineral rights and are a very rich tribe indeed. He made us hot chocolate and had some cookies while sailing back to port. We were very cozy and warm. Oh another thing ..we found out the carvings were made only about 28 years ago by Maori artists.
He resembled Ernest Heminway to me ...and calls himself Barnacle Bill. A very fun day for both us. Who knows what tomorrow holds.
On to Hamilton!
Bob and Judy