Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Whakamaru to Jones Landing

What an amazing sight to wake up to. The mist sweeping down the river in the early morning sunlight.
After a lovely breakfast we decided to walk down to the Whakamaru Dam and have a nosy. We actually drove 200 metres from the recreation area to the start of the bike trail, by the boat ramp and headed off down the bike trail towards the dam.
My photos are untouched and it has made the rather dirty water look quite wonderful!. The dam is only two years older than me and gives a whole new meaning the the expression “humming along nicely”. There is a quite interesting hum that permeates everywhere in the vicinity of the dam. We were unable to get too close to the power generation area. This is one of 9 hydro power stations on 8 dams along the Waikato River.
The power scheme begins at Lake Taupo, which has control gates to regulate the flow of water into the river. Once released through the gates it takes over 18 hours for the water to flow to the last power station at Karapiro. On its journey downstream it passes through power stations at Aratiatia, Ohakuri, Atiamuri,Whakamaru, Maraetai, Waipapa, Arapuni and Karapiro. I hope to be able to get photos of as many as I can.
On the way back we saw three robins, who sat there for a while as we took some pictures.
From there we returned to the bus and had a cup of coffee and then headed north to Jones Landing.
It was pretty busy when we got there, being Saturday and we were the second row from the lake front.
After a bit of lunch we headed out for a walk down river to Arapuni Dam.
It is part of the Waikato River Trail bike ride or walking track and this section is “for experienced riders only”. There are parts where you have to carry your bike up the stairs and up some very steep grades. There is a road detour of 8km to avoid this section.
At the top of the bluff there is a lookout back over Jones Landing….what a view!
You can just see the Fredrock Cafe in the distance. Here is the reverse angle looking up to the bluff.
From the top it was a flatter walk along the river bank to the dam, passing a paddock with a herd of bulls. Saw so much real bull s#%t that I should have taken a photo.
This dam holds the water and diverts it down another spillway to the hydro station further down the river. Its quite weird looking down the face of the dam seeing no water at the bottom.
It was a hot and tired trio that arrived back at the busses at Jones Landing and we lazed around and enjoyed the company for a while before having a lovely meal (yet another one that I didn’t have to cook) thanks to my sister.
I ended up giving a demo of the kayak loader for a group of motorhomers who were quite interested in how it worked.
We were fascinated by the little fish in the lake. They have quite a red tail and Roger checked the book and discovered that they were Rudd and yes there were quite a few Australian politician jokes around.
There were schools of hundreds of these fish and after doing some research found that they were illegally imported in 1967 and stock bred from these were widely released and they are threatening our waterways and native fish. They eat the plants and thus the water quality reduces. They are slowly heading southwards.
Brenda and Roger had decided to head home on Sunday and I headed around the top of the lake and headed to the Dept of Conservation campsite at Arohena.