Sunday, 9 February 2014

Is That Snow?... I Can't Believe My Eyes...

 As I left Turangi behind and drove south towards
the Desert Road, Waiouru and Mangaweka I was most
surprised to see what looked like snow on the
distant Mt Tongariro... A compound volcano in the
Taupo Volcanic Zone. Its elevation is 1,978 meters
But I was sure it was snow I was looking at.

 Behind the sprawling mass of Tongariro
was the composite cone of Mt Ngauruhoe with
its elevation of 2291 meters. From my viewpoint
it looks like a separate mountain but  is actually

 The mountains were continually in view...
Growing in size as I got closer and further south. 
Here a lot of logging has been done... There were
numerous logging trucks on the road.

 It's a good road... In the summer. In winter more
treacherous with ice on the road with plenty
of warning signs.

 It's quite isolated...

 Long straight roads...

 Because of volcanic ash when the various volcanoes
have erupted the countryside is very barren.
Nothing much grows on the hard dry ground... 
Snow and ice covered in the winter.

 The perfect cone of Ngauruhoe... Made of
alternating layers of ash, scoria and andesite
lave flows. The sides of the cone are steep, loose
scree slopes covered in material from recent eruptions.
Fumaroles exist in the inner crater and on the rim of the
eastern and northern  outer crater but steam is seldom
visible above the crater rim.
The cone started to build up at least 2500 years ago
although recent research suggests it may be up to
4500 years old.

 The road continued on... Easy driving but it
was my longest days driving since I have been
on the road again.

I eventually left the volcanoes and scrub
of the Desert Road behind as I continued
south to my next destination at Vinegar Hill.


  1. Thank you for taking time to share these pictures and a good description of your travels. I feel as if I'm with you on the trip. :-)

  2. I thoroughly enjoy reading about your travels. I wonder if you are coming to waikanae? If so there's lovely freedom camping at the end of tutere st by the waikanae river mouth.

  3. Glad you are back up and driving. Great pics of the central plateau, I love that area, the amazing thing is the amount and variety of plant life that grows there. It really is a high altitude alpine desert and has some wonderful specimens.

  4. that must be some experience to watch it