9 Nov 2010

Auckland to Tangariro National Park - Tuesday 9th

Got up at 6am, packed the last things and had a soft breakfast at X Bas. An easy walk along Queen street to the train station and got aboard on the train to Wellington and my destination National Park Village. Besides good company of a nice girl (originally from France) and her daughter, the railway offered an amazing scenery and a lot of nice bird sightings too! During the five hours of travel I saw, for example, Swamp Harrier (14), Spotted Dove (1), Little Shag (4), New Zealand Pigeon (36), Paradise Shelduck (66), Black Svan (1 on nest), Australian Magpie (10) and Masked Lapwing (5). But the real surprise were all these Purple Swamphens on the fields (besides sheep and cows) and I give up the counting at 150 or something.

We reached National Park village at 13:00 and I checked in pre-booked double at the NP Backpackers, which is a nice place and also contains climbing walls for those interested. I studied maps and found a nice track for the afternoon: Fisher Road and Tupapakurua Falls. It was a great track along streams and through native forest and a couple of good outlooks. It were lot of birds around and a good practice to tell them apart by the sound. My favourites among the singing birds were Tomtit, Tui and Grey Fantail. Other bird specialties new for me were Silvereye, Bellbird, Whitehead and Grey Gerygone. It was indeed a lovely walk, which took a little more than three hours.

And now it's time for sleep. Have to get up at 6am again as the bus to Tongariro Crossing leaves the place at 7am. The hike will take about eight hours so it's better to be thoroughly rested. God night!

Part of the beautiful Tupapakurua Falls track.
A singing Tui. Note the white throat tufts.
Astounding view from the Taranaki outlook, which is the highest point on the Tupapakurua Falls track.
Mount Ruapehu, embedded in clouds and dressed in snow, which is an active stratovolcano and the highest one in the area with its 2797 metres.

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