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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 8, Issue 8 (December 1, 1933)

Notable New Zealand Scenic

page 47

Notable New Zealand Scenic

(Rly. Publicity photo.) The Aratiatia Rapids on the Waikato River, near Lake Taupo, North Island, New Zealand.

(Rly. Publicity photo.)
The Aratiatia Rapids on the Waikato River, near Lake Taupo, North Island, New Zealand.

A Spring morning at Whakaipo Bay, Lake Taupo, North Island. A beach of white sand, perfectly half-moon in shape. Overhead, a deep blue arch of exquisite ether. Around, radiant sunshine, also a sheet of fairy rippling water. To the right, a heavily wooded headland, hundreds of feet high, rises sheer from the water. The left extremity, gently rolling hills. In the foreground, a crystal stream murmurs over its gravelly bed; between banks clothed with fern and Tutu (a shrub poisonous to cattle).

In the shingle-bottomed pools lurk the speckled treasure of lake and stream—flitting and glancing. Feathery kowhais and tender willows outline the beach, lovely in Spring green.

A tui—called a “parson” bird (chiefly on account of the cluster of dainty white aigrette-like feathers under his beak)—sings gaily in a thicket of his beloved bush. Not yet has he sent forth his seemingly mournful “mating” call.

And in the leafage of the stately bushland adjacent, the “bushwarbler,” cheery little soul, trills ecstatically. Gulls, with the wing-spread of the true sea rover, cross and re-cross, some disturbing the peace by their shrill piercing cries.

And we stand, joyous, invigorated—lungs expanded to inhale the breath of the neighbouring snows—exhilarating as a draught of champagne.

Evening-heralding snow on the Ranges.

The lake waters are dark and forbidding in aspect, and white teeth show where the reef runs out from the point of the bay. The hills in the distance, the island and the cliffs, far and near, stand out like etchings.

The uneven blue of the Kaimanawhas, show bleak in the evening light. The masses of grey cloud and mist that rest low on them, and the snow capped volcanoes, half an hour before had been glowing pink and gold against a sunset sky of blue and primrose. A “bite” in the air notifies that winter still holds a weakening sway—Watchman, what of the morrow?

The morrow—Taupo in a snowy mood. Raging water, green rollers thundering on the beaches, spray far-flung into ti-tree and tussock, sleety snow-showers on a howling wind, clouds heavy and black with streaming edges, others shredded into wee grey wisps driving pell-mell across the sky.

Wonderful—the air, so full of turmoil, yet seems so pure and strengthening, that in place of shrinking away, one takes a real delight in standing “four-square” to the gale; though the hair crackles, and clothing seems to turn to ice. Ever and anon, the bleak pall over range and mountain seems to divide and a rift of blue-green sky appears, at times a ray of sunshine.

Sunset on Lake Taupo.

The ardent sun disappears behind the encircling hills, suddenly—as all wonderful happenings in Nature. The lake waters change from blue to a grey hue. The distant bluffs, hills and shores are veiled in evening shadows.

The grey fades into blue—blue to purple— purple to cerise. A brooding hush as if Nature stood to silence watching the passing of a spent day laden with memories of good and ill, to many. Even the birds in the thickets are silent.

Golden pathways flame on water that reflects an ever-changing sky—rugged hilltops, etching the sky, beautified by sunset glory. A sighing breeze touches the cheeks as with a benison. Then, hey presto! all is blue-grey shadow land, with the silver, evening glimmering star.

To unbelievable beauty, add utility. An inland sea, with 300 miles of coast, from which may be collected dairy produce, meat, wool, timber, not to mention sport fishing. Wading in the shallows, collecting six and seven pounders.

Doomed—the iridescent beauties, ah, well— farewell. No, we can never, after sojourning there, quite forget Lake Taupo. Sport, Romance, Adventure, Healing in what one of New Zealand's Governors (who appreciated its “aids to health and vigour”) described as a “Lotus Land.”

page 48