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Huka Falls, Lake Taupo and Waipunga Falls landscapes and wildlife at Pukaha Wildlife Centre

Rotorua to Napier

The car tour continued south from Rotorua on SH5 towards Wellington through mixed forests, grassland and pastures to Huka Falls near Lake Taupo. After photographing the falls, we drove into Taupo and along the shores of Tapuaeharuru Bay.

Continuing our drive, we headed west towards Napier along SH5 and into a more mountainous landscape, stopping en-route at Waipunga Falls.

We arrived at the art deco town of Napier in the Hawke's Bay region, mid afternoon checking into the scruffy looking Fern Motel, which was too far out-of-town and expensive for what it offered. I wanted to be closer to the centre of town but most reasonable places were fully booked months ahead, probably because an international rugby match, the next day. Just as well, I had only planned a short tour of the town, as there was very little to do.

Napier to Wellington

Next day we had a long drive to Wellington along SH50 and SH2. The latter part of the journey took us through a lot of monotonous countryside, as it was mainly grassland and pasture, although we did come across a few interesting landscapes, which I photographed.

Relief came when we made our planned stop at the Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre for lunch and a tour of the centre. We were able to see Kiwi's in their habitat as the centre had a special nocturnal viewing, incubation and brooding rooms. After the Kiwi tour, we were fortunate to see the Tuatara out of its burrow. The gardens had aviaries of New Zealand's threatened bird species and collections of threatened plants. This was definitely the highlight of the day and well worth stopping. We checked into the motel in Johnsonville, which is about 7 km from the ferry terminal in Wellington, and then we went for a curry.