Danny Yee >> Travelogues >> New Zealand: Coromandel, Central Plateau, Waikato
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one of the Emerald Lakes

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a dry gully

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the waterfall near Oturere Hut

Oturere and Waihohonu Huts:
Tongariro Northern Circuit

Monday 21st February

We were up to watch the sunrise at 6.30, but then went back to our sleeping bags and got another hour's sleep. We had soup and muesli for breakfast, then set off into a beautiful cloudless day.

We were doing the Tongariro Northern Circuit, rather than the Tongariro Crossing, so we now had to climb back up to Blue Lake and retrace our steps to Emerald Lakes.

There we left our previous day's route and descended to Oturere Hut, through a devastated lava landscape that I think was used to film Mordor.

Oturere hut is in a slightly greener area, with a stream and a small waterfall nearby. The hut warden had just come back from looking for wind-seeded Pinus contorta.

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the dead lands

From Oturere Hut the track goes through desert, dominated by the looming peak of Ngaurahoe — Mount Doom — on the right, and with the snow-clad Ruapehu further away but getting larger as we went on. Towards the end it winds through beech forest. We had fun photographing plants and the occasional insect.

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desert plants
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a stunted tree
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desert grass
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beech forest

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Ohinepango Springs
We were pretty tired when we got to Waihohonu hut around 6pm. But we left our packs there and immediately set off to visit Ohinepango Springs. Here a huge volume of cold, amazingly clear water comes out of the ground.

Jen the hut warden gave a talk, about possum trapping and climbing across Ngaurahoe solo, and we went insect spotting — there were small weta on the hut toilets.

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