Weekend - Friday 3 July 2015 to Sunday 5 July 2015 (3 days)
Photo Gallery Saturday - Feiyan Zhong - View Photos Here
Quite a lot it would seem as our new Big Blue, with an almost full complement of passengers as it rolled into the Awakeri Holiday Park, inland from Whakatane before midnight on Friday night. A few of us were there already, and I had the pleasure of meeting Graham MacGregor, soon to receive his 50 year boots.
There are two really good things about the holiday park - the location itself providing ready access to some real Bay of Plenty gems and the hot pools are a very pleasant temperature -not too hot, so you can stay immersed for a long time in comfort.
The big question for the weekend, was whether those intending to visit White Island would get there - a bit like Goldilocks - Saturday was raining and too miserable / and no doubt dangerous - to attempt an island landing (although the wind was just right), and Sunday was clear, but the wind was not, so no White Island visit this time.
But a lot of other fun to be had - Saturday the new Big Blue took us first via wet sandy roads through to Lake Tarawera - no, this model does not drive itself - Keith was our driver for the weekend ....and he then drove around to meet us at the other end of the Tarawera Falls Track. The river and the falls were spectacular and the track is straightforward walking, providing ample opportunity to appreciate the rich bush and river scenery. Big Blue was christened from the sprayed on wet gritty sand from the road, to the extent that the back windows were completely decorated with a mottled wallpaper!!
Most of the party then transferred over to the foot of the climb up Mt Edgecombe (it will be fine when we get to the top won’t it ...) and set off up a vehicle track that climbs steadily for most of the distance - a total ascent of over 600m, and a good number of people made it to the top where, no, there wasn’t a view. Hazel feels that she is now a qualified tramper again having climbed a mountain in the cloud just for the joy of being out there; being energetic.
Returning to a soak in the hot pools was pure bliss. Although Keith, Suresh and Larry felt duty bound to lead the charge to clean Big Blue down first ... a modern day version of tending the horses before looking after yourself - thanks everyone who assisted with that.
Sunday dawned fine but windy, so the party set off from the middle of Whakatane on the Kohi Point walk all the way around the dramatic headlamp to beautiful Otarawairere Bay, over to Ohope Beach ... continuing on to the cafes for a lunch stop in the sun.
After a relaxing break, the party split - some electing to return the same way, and the others going over the hill via the Nga Tapuwae Toi Track - and meeting up together in Whakatane at exactly the same time a short distance from the bus.
Thanks to Liz for organising such a relaxing weekend, and to Kay for holding the fort while Liz was away.
The party included Russell Allen, Karen Wesley, Tony and Hazel Walton, Feiyan Zhong (photographer), Sue Woolnough, Roy Carlin, Pete Waworis, Diane Dowle, Lynda Langridge, Jean Barton, Keith Ayton, Mary Sokolic, John Treacy, Graham Macgregor, Peter Bullock, Liz and Phil Ware, Larry Beard, Suresh Nanu, Martin Woodhead and Vicki King