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The weather in Ohakune on this Sunday in October, dawned bright and sunny without a cloud to be seen. After a relaxed breakfast, our guests, Hillary and Gerry decided a walk was in order. The Gardener and I decided to join them. It wasn’t their first visit to the Central Plateau, although it was their first visit to Ruapehu Country Lodge. We decided on a walk around Lake Rotokura – which is a short drive away, just 12 km from Ohakune.
The area around Lake Rotokura is an ecological area and there is intensive pest control being carried out around here in order to return the forest to its natural state.
There is plenty of parking and as we exited the car, we were immediately assaulted by a steep hill that had us regretting our full breakfast. Fortunately, this only lasted about 10 minutes. We reached the Dry Lake – which whilst it is the lower of the two lakes, it is by no means dry!!
We stopped for a quick photo shoot and then headed another 5 minutes in to the bush before reaching the first edges of Lake Rotokura. We could see the majestic Mt Ruapehu towering above the lake and on a beautiful day like today, you can see its reflection in the water. We headed clockwise in to the bush where the track narrows in some places to a mere sliver. The ancient beech trees that form a guard of honour around the lake tower above you blocking out much of the sun so that even on an amazing day like today, you feel the remnants of winter each time the sun disappears behind a tree.
A couple of times we had to climb over fallen tree trunks, some newly fallen and some not. It sounded by this stage, that the birds were enjoying the day as much as we were. We identified the sounds of the bellbird from a ‘WhatbirdNZ’ app. We also heard the Tui, and spotted a fantail hopping on and off branches sending a rustling thru the air.
We stopped at the Dry Lake for a drink of water on the way back down– Lake Rotokura is tapu (meaning sacred healing waters) so it is offensive to the tangata whenua, Ngati Rangi, to eat or drink near the lake.
All in all, this walk took us about an hour at a nice slow amble and was the perfect way to start such a perfect Sunday.