Thursday, July 18, 2013

Taupo Symposium, Part 1

I left home on Monday afternoon, and got to Taupo on Wednesday morning (a 5-hour flight from Charlotte to Los Angeles, a 13-hour flight to Auckland, and a 45-minute flight to Taupo, with some layovers in between).

The flight into Taupo (pronounced like "toe paw") was beautiful; I could see the volcanic mountains on the edge of Lake Taupo rising through the clouds as we got closer.

NOTE: for a clearer view, just click on the photos.)

It's was a tiny airplane, and I think everyone on it was headed for the convention. It was a bit bumpy at times, but luckily, no one need the cleverly decorated barf bags.

These mountains were shot for The Lord of the Rings movies. The Maori consider Mt. Ruapehu, Ngauruhue and Tongariro to be sacred.

Our hotel is right on the edge of the lake, which is huge (25 miles long by 18 miles wide). It was formed when a volcano erupted and formed a giant crater.

The trout fishing in this area is excellent.

Today, the organizers of the conference treated us to a fabulous bus trip to see some attractions in the area.

Huka Falls gushes through a stone canyon at 300,000 liters per second. A lot of hydroelectric and geothermal energy is harnessed in this area.

Cabbage tree:

We had lunch at Cafe L'Arte and watched a demonstration on glass blowing:

Then we headed for the Aratiatia Rapids. The water is dammed here, but it is released several times daily so tourists can experience the power and beauty of the river rushing through the canyon. It is something else to watch the calm pool quickly fill up and the water rushing through. Here is the canyon before the water was released:

The water coming in:

And the water almost all the way up:

Here is some pumice from an ancient volcanic eruption:

Giant eucalyptus:

A view of the mountains in the clouds:

A visit to a place with great outdoor art:

Classes start tomorrow at Taupo-nui-a- Tia College!

Location:Taupo, New Zealand