Day 11 - Meander over McLaren Falls


Day 1 - Arrival
Day 2 - Raglan to Urenui
Day 3 - The Long Road to Levin
Day 4 - A Day with Granny
Day 5 - A Wellington Wander
Day 6 - The Tour to Taupo
Day 7 - Rolling to Rotarua
Day 8 - The Redolence of Rotorua
Day 9 - The Beach at Bowentown
Day 10 - Outtrip to Ohope
Day 11 - Meander over McLaren Falls
Day 12 - Mission to Mt. Manganui
Day 13 - Shopping the Strand
Day 14 - Wistful in Whangamata
Day 15 - Cruising to Coromandel
Day 16 - On the Road to Orere Point
Day 17 - Departure

Tuesday, March 26

Zanada showed up in Richard and Stacy's bed sometime during the night and, convinced that he was a human, slipped under the covers and put his head on a pillow. We found him that in the morning.

After the usual morning festivities, the family, along with Aunt Jeannette, headed off for McLaren Falls, a park area created around a hydro-electric dam. Along the way we caught some other sights...

Zanada and Stacy, early in the morning. Silly, ain't it? Driving to McLaren Falls, we spied the Tauranga Girls College, where Richard's grandmother used to work.
We also bumped into Aunt Judy, working at the used book store/library.  

Just before we entered the park proper, there was a large one-lane bridge stretching a fairly nasty looking gorge. There were parking space near the bridge, so we stopped and took a look about. A sign on the bridge read: "WARNING! People die jumping from this bridge. Don't do it." Then we took a look off the side of the bridge and said "People jump off this? People are stupid!" Its a long, long way down and you can see rocks and things in the water. Why would anyone do something like that?

Looking off the bridge into the pool that some silly people jump off into. Up a bit from the pool are large boulders with water running through them. There's another sign that says "in case of siren, leave the river bed immediately."
Water pouring into the gorge. According to Jeanette, the water is very, very low at this point. Jeanette takes a picture of the girls in front of the gorge.

The park itself is beautiful, lots of lakes formed by the damming of the river. There's an animal park inside, but unfortunately it was closed. Instead, we found a bush walk up to the falls - whether or not they were "the" McLaren falls was unclear.

Alex looks back to see if we're keeping up, walking the path along the river to the falls. Right on the edge of the path was some silver fern, emblem of New Zealand.
After about a fifteen minute hike, we arrive at the falls. The girls pose for a photo on the path in front of the falls.
Here's the whole family in front of the falls. The girls climb down the rocks to the pool below the falls.
Alex wanted a picture by herself in front of the falls. The girls hurry off across the bridge away from the falls.

By the time we'd finished with our photos, a herd of small children was headed up the path, so we hurried down the path and onto a different walk.

A short ways down the road, we found a walk along the lakes. As we wandered down the path, numerous birds intercepted us looking for food. Fortunately (for them), we had some.

A fancy tailed rooster joins the gang. A bantam rooster. Shhh... don't tell him he looks funny. He'll be embarassed.
These look like mallards, but they're bigger, and the colors are a bit different. There were mallards in the group as well. Caitlin feeds the ducks some crumbled corn cake.

Once we ran out of food, we lost most of our friends. But we'd reached the lake and spotted some black swans swimming about.

Check out the wake on that swan... guess he was hoping there was more food. "Dude! Got any food?"
This duck snuck up behind us and then let our the largest quack we'd ever heard. We almost landed in the water. Jeannette snaps some photos of the swans.
The mother swan, with half a dozen signets in tow, searches for food. The signets spot dad and string out between their parents.

After a couple of hours of wandering about, we left McLaren falls and headed back toward Tauranga. Jeannette mentioned a heritage village along the way, so we stopped there. The heritage village focuses on the "wild west" like era of Europeans living in New Zealand. Being the middle of the week, it was pretty quiet there.

Out front of the woodworking shop is a bird of prey, carved with a chainsaw. Caitlin mugs in front of the woodworking shop.
Caitlin in the woodworking shop. Main street, Tauranga, 1863.
A view up the next block of the heritage village. Stacy checks out some jewelry at the rock shop in the village.
The rock shop also had a display of phosphorescent minerals, this is them glowing under black light (needless to say, we didn't use a flash). The inside of a replica church in the heritage village.

After finishing our explore of the heritage village, we headed back to the farm, where Jeanette broke out her leather working equipment and planned out belts for the family.

Jeannette marks up some leather for making belts. "I am Zanada, you foolish mortals, and all here must come forth and place upon me the petting of hands, or be struck down by my wrath."
"Thus spoke Zanada. Nappy time."  

A peaceful dinner at the farm wrapped up our day. We had one duty left to complete in the Tauranga area - delivering Granny Stanton's presents to her friend Virginia in Mount Manganui. That we would tackle the next day.