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|
|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.