Landscapes and Nature at Lake Taupo, Bay of Plenty, Thames and Auckland Botanic Gardens
Tongariro National Park to Edgecumbe in the Bay of Plenty, Via Lake Taupo
Leave National Park village and follow the very scenic SH47, which skirts the Tongariro National Park, for the drive northwest to the Bay of Plenty. The early morning light was so dramatic we stopped to take some amazing landscapes of Mount Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu. Continue stopping at Opotaka Historic Place – kainga (settlement) for some landscapes of Motuopuhi Island in Lake Rotoaira and Mount Tongariro. Stop again at a scenic lookout, about 6 Km further on, for panoramas of Maunganamu hill and the southern end of Lake Taupo. SH1 runs along the western edge of the lake to Taupo, about half way along is Mission Bay with a pull off and picnic area at the edge of the lake. Stop here for a picnic lunch and take some photos of the lake.
Drive north on SH5 passing through Taupo towards Rotorua (already travelled during the tour south) so press on until the SH30 turn for Whakatane is reached. Follow SH30 through forests and farming country to Edgecumbe near Whakatane on the Bay of Plenty. We stayed with friends Ralph and Sue's on their Edgecumbe farm.
Edgecumbe, Bay of Plenty
Edgecumbe is not your usual tourist destination however it where friends Ralph and Sue have their farm. It was time to chill out so I didn't take many photos; I'd probably overdosed on the wildlife and landscape images I had taken in the South Island in the previous weeks. I did take a few shots at the beach near Matata and a few shots around the farm. Ralph collects old Subaru's, all were in need of a good wash, but made interesting photo subjects.
Edgecumbe to Thames and Auckland
We left the farm travelling to Thames via Karangahake for an overnight stop. We had a look around the town of Thames, visited the public hide and drove a short distance along the Thames Estuary looking for photo opportunities, didn't find many.
The following morning we travelled to Auckland airport via the scenic route following the Thames Estuary, unfortunately the tide was out so no bird photos finally we cut across country stopping at Auckland Botanic Gardens for lunch. Next up was 30 hours of air travel via Brisbane, Hong Kong to London on QANTAS.