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Tongariro National Park

We spent a couple of days doing chores in Taupo. We did laundry, grocery shopping, banking, and other shopping. I bought a new pair of hiking boots. I found out that the camper van needed an electrical inspection. It failed the inspection because it was lacking a ground wire from the transformer to the chassis and was not tripping the circuit breaker. It was just a wire that had to be attached to the body with a screw to ground everything. I got all that done and we went for a walk one afternoon along the lake. The weather for the past few days has been mostly cloudy with a few periods of rain.

Today we drove south to Tongariro National Park. Tongariro is a large park encompassing 796,000 square km. As I drove along the highway into the park, it struck me that something was missing. I have been to many National Parks in North America and Europe and one of the main things to do in these parks is to watch for wildlife. In a park in Canada you might see bear, elk, bison, fox, wolf, moose, or even a cougar or one of many other animals. In New Zealand there are no mammals except bats. Since humans arrived in the area, some mammals such as rats and opossum have been introduced. It seemed strange to me for such a large and rugged area to contain only birds. Dogs are not allowed in the park because they kill the kiwis.

Tongariro was the fourth national park to be created in the world after Yellowstone in USA in 1872, Royal National Park in Australia in 1879, and Banff in Alberta, Canada in 1885. Tongariro was created in 1887.

Tongariro contains three active volcanos. We are very close to them, but today the cloud cover is so low that we have not seen them yet. The visibility is very poor. It rained most of the day. Therefore, no photos yet. The prevailing wind comes from the west and dumps all its rain on this side. The west side of the volcanos get double the amount of rain that is received on the other side of the park. But this is the side that has the best facilities such as villages, campgrounds and roads to access the park. Much cooler today, about 21 degrees C.

Tongariro is a United Nations World Heritage Site

I hope the weather will clear up enough tomorrow to get some photos.

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