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New Zealand Volcanos 1. Tama Lakes walk

PostPosted: Sun Mar 24, 2019 7:15 pm
by past my sell by date
The volcanic area in the centre of North Island has been the site of two of the largest eruptions in the last 70,000 years. The Oranui blast around 25600 years ago had a VEI of 8*, emitted over 1100 Km3 of tephra, covered a large part of the island in a layer of ignimbrite - condensed pyroclastic flow - and created the 615 Km2 186m deep Lake Taupo. :shock:
The Hatepe eruption - ca. 180AD had VEI 7 - about 10 x smaller but is still New Zealand's largest eruption since.

* In the VEI - Volcanic Explosive Index, each number represents a multiple of ten (as in the Richter scale), . Recent large famous eruptions have been 5 Mt. St. Helens 1980, 6 Karakatoa 1883, Mt. Pinatubo 1991 and 7 Tambora 1816. See Wikipedia and entries for the above eruptions

Tongariro National park lies a few Km SW of Lake Taupo and the mountain summits are of great significance to the local Māori.
In 1886 in order to prevent the selling of the mountains to European settlers, the local Ngati had the mountains surveyed in the Native Land Court and then set aside, as a reserve in the names of certain chiefs one of whom was Te Heuheu Tukino IV (Horonuku). Later the peaks of Mount Tongariro, Mount Ngauruhoe**, and parts of Mount Ruapehu, were conveyed to The Crown on 23 September 1887, on condition that a protected area was established there. The intial 26.4 Km2 has steadily increased and now totals around 386 Km2. but it remains only the sixth national park ever to be created in the world. :D :D
** pronounced Narruhoee (approx)
staying at Turangi at the south end of the lake, I enjoyed several perfect days there in February 2003 before heading down the "forgotten highway" to Mt. Egmont (Taranaki) and the West coast. Donna and I later revisited the park at about the same time in 2006.
A00 - Map of Lake Taupo and Tongariro National Park.jpg
Lake Taupo and Tongariro
Lake Taupo is around 350m above sea level, while Whakapapa at the entrance to the park is over 1100. The road to the East of the park is called the desert road and has only just of one half of the annual rainfall at Whakapapa. This rainfall imbalance is typical of the whole country. Fjordland in the SW of South Island makes Knoydart look quite dry :lol: :lol: but to the East of Queenstown and Wanaka the terrain is almost desert :shock:
Lake Taupo from near the main road
Tongariro national park main peaks. Mt. Tongariro is 1978m above sea level, Ngauruhoe 2280m and Tahurangi the highest peak of Ruapehu just under 2800 . Only the last is permanently snow covered
I wrote the above info on the map at the time. The walking is on mulicoloured ash and feels like fine gravel underfoot
Ngauruhoe from the track to the Tama Lakes
Ruapehu from the same point
Ruapehu from beside the track
Ruapehu and the lower lake
The lower Tama Lake

TL07 - Ngauruhoe and the Upper Tama Lake.jpg


TL08 - The Upper Tama Lake.jpg

Various views of Ngauruhoe and the upper lake
TL10 - Clouds streaming off Ruapehu.jpg
clouds streaming off Ruapehu from behind and above the lower lake
Unknown pink flower
close up
TL12 - Tussock and heaths on the ground.jpg
Tussock and heaths on the ground
TL13 - The ridge can be followed round the lake.jpg
The ridge can easily be followed round between the two lakes
Another alpine plant
TL14 - Approaching Taranaki falls.jpg

TL15 - The classic view of Taranaki falls.jpg
Two views of thew Taranaki falls
TLF05 - two different Hebes.jpg
two different Hebes - which are very common shrubs throughout the country
TONF01 - unidentified Harebell or Bluebell.jpg
another heath with delicate white flowers
Postscript -- Rock climbing
New Zealand is mostly comprised of raised seabed and evidence of sediments can be seen by many roadsides.


The huge pyroclastic cloud emitted in the Oranui eruption, condensed on these sediments to form a surface layer of Ignimbrite which affords some bolted rock-climbing on a number of outcrops On only my second weekend in the country I camped beside two - Wharepa South and Frogatt edge (as in Derbyshire). The rock is quite rough - and VERY wearing on the hands :( - but characterised by huge numbers of holes/pockets where steam and other gases no doubt escaped. The rock (I climbed on) only appeared to be about 10cm thick as the bottom of every pocket was just mud. it was also quite a slow process as out of maybe 50 pockets only a few provided any purchase :lol: :lol:
Here are a few pics






This last one was the *** Terra incognita, but it was at the very top of my grade or just above :lol: and at the end of two days of climbing my hands were just too sore to attempt it :( :(

Re: New Zealand Volcanos 1. Tama Lakes walk

PostPosted: Sat Mar 30, 2019 5:13 am
by onsen
Thanks for sharing, past my sell by date...way to many local walks on my to-do list, otherwise I'd be over there in a flash, airfares are cheap...perhaps in retirement.

Queensland is roughly 7 times larger than Great Britain. :shock:

Re: New Zealand Volcanos 1. Tama Lakes walk

PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2019 1:25 pm
by past my sell by date
onsen wrote:Thanks for sharing, past my sell by date...way to many local walks on my to-do list, otherwise I'd be over there in a flash, airfares are cheap...perhaps in retirement.

Queensland is roughly 7 times larger than Great Britain. :shock:

New Zealand does have stunning scenery of all sorts. I think If I could choose, I would spend April- October in Scotland and November to March in NZ. A lot of NZ mountain guides do more or less that - Swiss Alps alternating with Southern Alps