Monday, I went on a road trip to the centre of the North Island. The road goes through a place called Kuripapango. It travels over "Gentle Annie" the steepest section of Highway in New Zealand. It travels over highland country all above 300 metres. I took some fotos.
In the [western] distance, we can see the Ruahine Ranges. You can get another view of the ranges in my Kereru Blog.
Behind the clump of Manuka in the centre, is the dip in the hills that marks the border between the Northern Ruahines and the Southern part of the Kawekas. My journey takes me through that gap, the place where Kuripapango lies.
Ahead we can see the foothills of the Kawekas. The road is very well made and pleasant to drive.
A large part of the central North Island is made up of papa rock wich is a soft grey mudstone. This is a good example of this rock. The Kawekas and Ruahines have a harder mudstone called "Greywacke".
The pine tree perched in the crack at the top os not contributing to the stability of the rock.
This foto is taken much closer to the ranges and shows a part of the Kaweka ranges. It suffers quite a lot of erosion. The foreground is land used for forestry. It has just been clear felled.
It saddens me to see such insensitive land management. Clear felled forest!!
The road has now wandered amongst forested hills. To the left, clear felled forest, to the right, plantation forest nearly ready for clearing.
We have had a dry spring, but there is plenty of water about.
These hives have been placed here in the ranges to collect Manuka honey.
At this time of year, the manuka has just begun to flower. The honey fetches high prices... twice that for ordinary honey.
A magnificent pine tree. [I would like to do a blog of magnificent trees. HB has lots of them]
This is from the other side of Gentle Annie and Kuripapango. We are over 300 m here. There is good grassland on this plateau.
A bit of clover and Lotus Major growing on the side of the road.
Curious bovines. Angus and AngusX Hereford.??
One of the highest stations in the country. [North Island]
It is hard to realise that we are over 1000feet [300m].
We are looking at a peak in the Ruahines of more than 1000m -1200m. The clouds got it today.
This is a little further along the road. We are looking westwards towards Ruapehu. Down in the valley is the Rangitikei river.
Sheep being gathered together for shearing. What amazed me is the way the sheep all look in the same direction.
The price we pay for allowing so much sheep farming in New Zealand is shown here. This farmer is clearly overstocking. See the shortness of the grass. See the lack of "Riparian Planting" [planting along streams and rivers.] See the general lack of trees.*&^%$##@!!
The first part of my journey ends 162km west of my start. Time for a quick cuppa in the pen cafe. [250,000 pens, with about 80,000 on display.]
My trusty little Getz parked by the sign "Pen Cafe" in the middle of WAIOURU. By the side of the sign "O Pen!" How droll can you get!
All you get to see of Ruapehu at 2700m. Spectacular on a clear day, and in front, the desert which gives the Desert Road its name.
From here I have no more fotos of significance. I met two Germans from Bremen at the Tokaanu hot pools. I picked up a young Parisian Frenchman doing an internship in Auckland and dropped him off in Taupo. I met two street bums in Taupo who entertained me with their droll stories of their lives on the streets. I had a Burger fuel burger which surprised me by being so edible. I was in my home by 7 that evening. I was blessed by roads with little traffic on the whole journey. Perhaps the drollest trick played by the traffic was on the Kuripapango leg of the journey. I took lots of fotos. The big fertiliser truck I passed just before the begin of the forested section of the road kept passing me when I stopped for fotos. I would pass again when he was climbing in fifth [of 22] gear up some steep slope. By the time of the sheep foto we were on quite good waving terms. I saw no more of him from there. [there were no more hills.]
Cheers and merry Christmas Chris the Pipemaker