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Monday 1 Mar 2004
Tongariro National Park, New Zealand

EVACUATION!

Woah.. been a hectic past few days. Unfortunately natures elements have prevented

me from partaking of a lot of the activities I wanted to. Ysee the country is currently experiencing

some major flooding (especially in the north island)...

27th Feb

After writing the net update I decided to head off that evening to check out Mattamata - the location of Hobbiton.

I stupidlly didnt bother to look up anything about the place before doing the 4 hour trip to get there, but I soon discovered that it

cost 50 dollars to take in the sights (on some farmers private land!!) Ripoff big time!!!

So after driving through some pretty torrential rain (New Zeland tends to rain quite unexpectedly!) I eventually decided to park at a

caravan park and didnt get snything done at Matamata! What a waste!

28th Feb

Left Matamata early on and decided to head off to the Waitomo caves area (again without checking the situation beforehand!!! doh!).

I knew the prices were acceptable but I didnt think to check that the rains (which had been fallin gall night) might affect the trips through glowworm caves floating on a tube.

Predictably it soon turned out that the rains had flooded out the caves... I quickly sought refuge at Juno backpackers, who let me sleep outside in my car in the car park for 5 dollars. Very nice of them too!

29th Feb

"YOU MUST EVACUATE THIS AREA IMMEDIATELY!" came the announcement over the loudspeakers in the museum.

Well it seems that the incessant overnight rainfall had finally caught up with us and was flooding roads leading out of Waitomo.

Unfortunately this meant that I had to forfeit doing a glowworm cave tour on an inner tube since all the caves were flooded.

It wasnt going to be possible to do a cave trip for up to another 4 days till the water levels lowered (and thats only if the rains ceased which was highly unlikely).

So, for this reason, and the obviou evacuation orders (I didnt want to miss my boat to South island in a week!) I grudglingly left Waitomo after wasting all that petrol getting there!

I decided to head off south-east for Tongariro National Park since it sounded pretty interesting with all its volcanoes, etc. 3 hours later I arrived and managed to find a free" campsite at the DOC site near the information bureau.

1st March

Have finally managed to get SOMETHING done today, even though it is still raining light showers and is relatively freezing (well I AM on a mountain at the moment!).

Got myself kitted out with a pair of waterproof trousers and a scarf for only 56 dollars from the information bureau,

and then took to walking the 6km track to the Teriraki falls (or some name similar!). Beautiful waterfalls, and the heather-filled area is

very much like the Dublin mountains photographs that are on this website. Its uncanny.

Unfortunately the sky is quite overcast today so Im not able to get much photography done of the volcano mountains. I also want to

try to climb one of the volcanoes so I might try that tommorrow if the weather clears up, otherwise Ill head off east to Napier (the worlds most art-deco city).

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