November 27, 2023 Kiwi to Ohakune (Day 61)

We got up before the crack of dawn to see the full moon setting over the Bay of Plenty, behind Mt. Maunganui. Our last morning in the Bay View Bach.

The lights on the horizon to the right of the moon are ships either leaving or entering the Port of Tauranga.

Yesterday, after our epic hike and packing and cleaning the bach, we went out for a few beers and a light dinner with some folks we had met a week ago. We had a wonderful time talking about our adventures and hearing about their life in Te Puke. Mark, the patriarch, is a kiwi farmer and he offered us a quick tour of his orchard the next morning. So we packed the car up and left at 7:15am to meet him at his orchard a 10 minute drive away. We had a great visit with him and learned about the NZ kiwifruit (formerly the Chinese gooseberry).

Baby kiwifruit. We don’t get the best of the crop in the US! The kiwifruit here in the local stores are twice as big!

After saying our goodbyes we continued on towards a hike we planned on our way south. Our destination was the Maramataha Bridge on the Timber Trail, a hiking & biking trail through the Pureroa Forest Park.

The longest and highest suspension bridge on the Timber Trail!

It crosses the Maramataha River, home to the whio or blue duck, a critically endangered NZ native bird. The bridge allows for bikers and hikers to pass over the river without disturbing the critical habitat of the ducks.

After our almost 2 hour walk through the regenerating forest we continued towards our night’s stay in Ohakune. Our friends in the pub last night said that it’s a great little ski town. I was thinking maybe bunny hills, I was not prepared for a huge snow capped active volcano!

Our first view of Mt. Ruapehu, one of NZ’s most active volcanos!

As we got closer the clouds dissipated and we had a clear view!

The quaint town of Ohakune reminded us of a smaller version of Bend. A skiable volcano nearby, a river running through it, the Mangawhero River, and a newspaper named The Bulletin!

One of the businesses that caters to the winter visitors!

Ohakune has wound down it’s ski season and the summer traffic has not yet begun. We had a leisurely stroll around town during shoulder season, something Bend no longer has!

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