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Just as you enter near the start of the Tarawera Trail there stands the majestic awe inspiring carved Pou, Ohomairangi. He is the revered ancestor of all of Te Arawa. It was his great grandson, Tametekapua, who brought some of the Ngati Ohomairangi people with him to Aotearoa, New Zealand. Their journey was borne out of necessity, but that does not in anyway diminish what was to become a long and arduous journey.
When I think that almost three months have passed since the opening of the Tarawera Trail, it certainly bares credence to the idea, "that time does fly by " . When it was originally opened there was the prediction that perhaps some 90 people a day would be walking the trail, so far that has not eventuated but it seems as the word about the trail spreads more people are walking it.
I am honest enough to say I have not (as yet). I have the dreaded middle age spread, which in my case just didn't stay around my midriff region, it went everywhere. I will walk it one day, but before I set forth on a 15 km hike I want to know that I am fit enough to make it to the other end. Seeing the shear anticipation and delight on some of the walkers I have met setting forth and returning from the trail, I know I am missing out on something that I really need to make the effort and go and see for myself.
I met a woman from the United Kingdom, who had taken 3 1/2 hours to walk from The Landing to Te Rata Bay (Hot Water Beach), she did not look as though she had suffered any major trauma in completing the walk, in fact she looked quite refreshed and relaxed. Her and her Rotorua born husband were happy enough however to catch the Water Taxi back to The Landing. The walk seems to take most people 4 to 5 hours to complete, perhaps at 3 1/2 hours this couple were not walking, they were possibly practicing for an endurance race.
There is a few options that the avid walker can take on the Tarawera Trail. They can walk the trail, and be picked up at Hot Water Beach by Water Taxi and be brought back to The Landing. They can walk the trail, camp over night and walk or taxi out the next day. They can even be transported by Water Taxi to Hot Water Beach in the morning and walk out using the trail. I even had a runner from the United Kingdom, come in yesterday and tell me he was going to run the trail, in and out in one day.
Now you maybe thinking what might motivate me, a self proclaimed "couch potato" to even consider walking this trail well I do have a few reasons I am prepared to share with you. I know there is breathtaking scenery to see, there are panels along the trail that will educate me more about the history and ecology of the area and at the end I know there is thermal water to ease away any aches and pains my old body has picked up on the journey in.
Most importantly though, I feel as though I will be physically honouring the Ngati Hinemihi and Tuhourangi people and their great ancestor Ohomairangi. His presence graces this area as a gift to Ngati Hinemihi and Tuhourangi in recognizing their contribution as the first hosts of this area. As guardians of this area they have kindly opened up their lands to be seen by us all, I think we should repay their hospitality by at least going to see it, but in our case, not out of necessity but desire.
I look forward to meeting you on The Tarawera Trail. I will be the slender fit one, with no sign of any middle aged spread. Hold a minute, before we even start, shall I book the Lake Tarawera Water Taxi pick up now?
For further infomation about the Tarawera Trail, go to our website.