Friday, January 10, 2014

Lava Glass, Huka Falls and Aratiatia Dam

A few years ago, I went to Lava Glass and interviewed chief-glass-blower, Lynden Over. Coming back many years later, the sculpture garden is a welcome addition. The children enjoyed seeing how the glass works were created and then running about the park and eating at the cafe.

Mum in the glass flower garden

Of course, a trip to Taupo must include a visit to the Huka Falls. The mighty Waikato River narrows from 100m across to squeeze, gush and froth through a canyon 15m wide. The power of the water is noisy and impressive.

The Weevil and family striking poses
Natural fern unfurling
Artificial flax unfurling
Upstream: the calm before the waterfall

The Aratiatia Power Station is a hydroelectric power station on the Waikato River 13km downstream from Lake Taupo. Before the dam was constructed (in 1964), the Aratiatia Rapids were quite a feature, but the dam stopped the water from flowing over them. Now the gates are opened several times a day (and the times are well-publicized) to recreate this effect, while public viewing platforms allow for people to enjoy the experience of the turbulent waters. 

Apparently the rapids were used for a scene from The Hobbit in which Bilbo Baggins rescues some dwarves from some elves by putting them in barrels and sending them downstream. As I am boycotting the film, I couldn't possibly comment, but it does make it a popular hobbit-spotters' hang-out.

No comments:

Post a Comment