Sunday, 25 May 2014

Mount Taranaki & Tongaporutu

Tēnā koutou katoa! (Hello everyone)

The other weekend my friends and I took a quick trip to the Cape Egmont region of New Zealand - the little piece of land that juts out on the west coast into the Tasman Sea.

It was the four of us from the South Island (Maria, Lisa, Bridget, and myself) and we started late on Saturday (May 10th). We drove out to Egmont National Park with just enough time to find a place to camp and make our classic soup dinner. We took a little while getting set up because as we were unpacking the tent, we found out we were missing a pole!!! It must have fallen out in the garage after we last packed it up, but yes, it was missing. We debated sleeping out in the open, but it's fall here and the temperature drops pretty low at night (about 45° F). We could have also slept underneath the roof of the Visitor's Center nearby, but we didn't want to get in trouble in the morning and the concrete didn't look too inviting anyways. Finally, we rigged it up with the pole for the awning, which is a few feet shorter. It was slightly crumpled, but it served its purpose.

We started the day on Sunday with a short hike towards Mount Taranaki. Taranaki is an active stratovolcano that measures 2,518 meters. Its most recent volcanic activity was the production of a lava dome in the crater that collapsed around 1860. We were so lucky to have this view before the hike because Mt. Taranaki is known for its consistent cloud cover. We had only hiked about 45 minutes and the view was already obscured by clouds.


Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu in the distance

Back in mythological times when mountains lived and loved, many mountains dwelt in the centre of the North Island -- Mt. Taranaki ("gliding peak") among them. 
While Tongariro was away, Taranaki wooed and won Tongariro's wife, the graceful Pihanga. Tongariro returned at sunrise to find the guilty pair and in the struggle that followed, Taranaki was banished. The depression under Fanthams Peak was caused by a kick from Tongariro, and the coup de grace caused the cleft in Taranaki's summit.
Taranaki retreated ignominiously to the west coast of the North Island, carving the course of the Wanganui River as he went and filling it with his tears, and then moved North to his present position.  While resting near Stratford, his weight caused the depression which became known as Te Ngaere Swamp. When he paused to rest again near the coast, the Pouakai Range threw out a spur and when Taranaki awoke he was forever a prisoner.
To this day Taranaki gazes silently at his lover and his rival. Pihanga still loves Taranaki and sighs occasionally when she thinks of him, while Taranaki, when covered in mist, is said to be weeping for his lost love. Meanwhile, Tongariro, the enraged and jealous husband, still smoulders with fury.

Our hike at Taranaki was short because we really wanted to make it over to Tongaporutu for low tide. This is site of the "Three Sisters" and is right on the Tasman Sea. We explored the sea caves, took lots of pictures, and wenting swimming in the sea! It was my first time actually swimming in the ocean!! It was not as warm as I imagined and verrry salty. I was scared I was going to get stung by a jellyfish, but I didn't see any :)

A cool face carved into the rock! It looked like Yoda

Elephant Rock with a little Taranaki in the background

Sea Cave

My Friends ♥

Playing around by the sea

He tino pai rawa atu te mutunga wiki!
It was a great weekend!

-- Katie

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