ON the second day of the Garden Tour, after a great breakfast, we took a walk along the road. The motel we stayed in is behind the trees on the left. This is the Tongariro River which drains into Lake Taupo from the mountains of the central plateau; it is known for it's trout fishing.
We hopped on the bus and travelled to Taupo and Huka Falls which is the beginning of the mighty Waikato River (the longest river in NZ).
As water leaves Lake Taupo it is funnelled through a narrow rocky ravine on it's way to the sea via eight hydro power stations.
We were on the wrong side of the bus to take photos of Lake Taupo, but here is Huka Falls upstream.
The water going through here often approaches 220,000 litres per second, and can sometimes be 320,000. Scary!
From google: "The eight hydro dams along the Waikato, from Aratiatia to Karapiro, have drowned important cultural and geothermal sites, altered fisheries, changed the river's ecology, hydrology, sedimentology, morphology, water clarity and quality, temperature regime, and recreational uses."
There is also a geothermal power station (Wairakei) next to the river and a coal -fired power station besdie and near the end of the river at Huntly that is brought into use from time to time.
It is fairly full at the moment because it's spring. In the autumn there is more of a fall because of the lower water level.
The water is so full of air that boats would sink in the white water nearest the falls. You can see in the photo below the falls, where the water is white then returns to normal river.
Right alongside the path the tui are feeding on Kowhai nectar.
upstream above the falls:
Then we travelled to Aratiatia dam, still on the Waikato river. The water is released three times a day. There are three warning sirens before it comes so anyone stupid enough to be downstream can escape. There have been tourists who have ignored the warnings signs, sirens, and drowned.
It is usually this little trickle:
You can see the black levels on the rock where it
comes to when filled.
Then a series as the water comes through in a matter of minutes ... scary! and amazing!
Here it comes ...
Then a series as it is let through ... all in a matter of minutes.
(Sorry I don't know how to make them side by side)
You can see the power station dam upstream and people standing on the bridge. You can see what a short distance it is from my vantage point to the dam.
How it looks downstream:
A carving on the trail.
The pool at the top bridge by the dam once the flow is closed off, and the water is still draining away.
The last garden still to come.
that's the first time I have actually 'seen' the Aratiatia water release, and that was spectacular!! I do know that it is a good (trout) fishing spot as my son used to go there.
I have really enjoyed (vicariously) travelling with you Carol - thanks for sharing
Hi Carol, I am enjoying these posts and learning at the same time, the colour of that water is stunning, its amazing to see it and can only imagine how wonderful the experience is IRL. Look forward to seeing more, thanks for sharing your journey.xx
OH! Spectacular photos Carol, what a wonderful trip to be on and the wonderful scenery and new experiences. My Niece is planning on a trip to NZ next Christmas with her son who lives in OZ. I'm going to send her a link of your blog for her to see where she should go. Loving seeing your trip photos.
WOW that looks absolutely amazing in the pics so must be spectacular in real life
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