National Park to Taupo, New Zealand

Sunday’s journey was a short one, back to Taupo – only this time without the rain. I stopped briefly to see what the Raurimu spiral was all about and, well, got the idea that this is a great feat of engineering, and the model, on a stand in front of a lookout point, shows how intricately the track has been built in order to allow the train to gradually ascend. The real tracks seem to be some kind of “Where’s Wally?” puzzle.

Raurimu spiral model - a complicated route to take train tracks over tricky terrain
Raurimu spiral model – the real thing is there somewhere (?)

Even on a shortish journey, in this part of New Zealand there is always the chance of a scenic picnic spot.

NZ countryside - blue skies and green rolling hills
Breathtaking scenery.

Once in Taupo itself, I lounged the afternoon away, enjoying the sunshine, such a contrast to the rain and grey skies that had been here last time. In the evening I went for a run. Seeing as I had run along the shore before, I headed out to Huka falls. The route was familiar, so I am sure I walked it when I was here 4 years ago. A Frenchman carrying three bottles of beer and barefoot, was on the grass as I hit the car park to the spa park, and kept me entertaining company, even if he did “sheet” by cutting the corner as I followed the path round the edge of the field before the spa itself.

The falls are just over 5k from Rainbow Lodge, which was the perfect length. They are very busy during the day, but once the car park closes its gates at 6pm, there are just a few walkers (and a few mountain bikers, who weren’t supposed to be on the same path as me, but we passed at a wide spot). I went back the next day to take a photo or nine.

Huka Falls, surrounded by thick tree growth
Huka Falls. 200,000L/second.
Huka Falls running through tree-lined banks
Huka Falls, from the bridge – the water is falling at the far end.

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