The morning of our High Society High Tea dawned bright and sunny so we wandered up the path from the Whakapapa Holiday Camp to see what we could see. There are plenty of tracks and bush walks in this area for the more energetic souls. We walked along the riverside track and stopped and admired the view from the bridge over the stream.
The weather closed in late afternoon, and it rained so much during the evening we lost our TV reception. We woke to pea soup conditions the next morning, surrounded by swirling mist. Not completely unexpected, as the camp is perched on the side of a mountain. While we waited for Geoff to finish his chores at the dump station we parked up on the side of the road, and I popped across the road to check out the Info Centre.
The Info Centre gives very necessary advice to serious skiers and trampers, such as weather conditions, avalanche reports, topographical maps, and bookings for huts. Stepping into the attractive foyer decorated with hand woven tukutuku panels, I read the tale of The Sacred Tuku. Horonuku, Te Heuheu Tukino IV, (Paramount Chief of Ngati Tuwharetoa), passed the guardianship of the peaks of Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and part of Ruapehu to the people of New Zealand in 1887. These areas were set aside by law as a National Park, the first to be established in New Zealand, and has dual World Heritage status.
If we weren’t almost ready to go I would have liked to sat and enjoyed the two audio-visual shows detailing the park's history and features. Perhaps next time.
Because of the weather conditions, there was some debate whether we would carry on to Wanganui as originally planned, or go home a day early. As we dropped down in altitude the weather started to clear, so we decided that we would continue on our journey. It was time to tackle the Parapara Road – feared by some, but we bravely drove on.