Tongariro National Park - Tawhai Falls
It was a good thing we enjoyed our views of Mt. Ngauruhoe as much as we did on that first day.
An icy rain started to fall in the night, and when we woke up in the morning, our first-class view
had turned to this.
The showers came and went all morning long so we rested and watched TV and sorted through our
New Zealand television was proving to be quite amusing. The world it portrayed was much more innocent
than American television land.
In one reality show that we encountered frequently, highway patrol officers pleasantly assisted hapless motorists
and shooed errant sheep from the roadway. In my favorite episode, they followed a foreign
honeymooning couple who were driving erratically. The couple ignored the sirens and flashing lights and
drove on and on for miles. When they did finally pull over, they stopped on a dangerous curve. One officer calmly
and politely listed all the traffic rules they had broken. He apologized as he gave them a ticket for $100 and asked
them to surrender the keys to their rental car because it was just too dangerous to allow them to continue to drive.
Then he arranged for a tour bus to pick them up so they could continue on their journey. I think it highly
unlikely that the U.S. highway patrol would have been that tolerant.
In between showers, we ventured out to the park Visitor's Center. A statue of the Māori chief Te Heuheu Tūkino IV sits
just inside the entrance. He gave the mountains of Ruapehu, Tongariro and Ngauruhoe to the Crown in 1887 for the creation
of the park.
In the afternoon, the skies cleared briefly, and we hiked through a beech forest to Tawhai Falls.
Sadly, Mt. Ngauruhoe continued to look like this, but all of the clouds made for some nice sunset pictures.