January 6th

Tour Day 8


Goldfields Railroad

This morning we made a quick stop at the Goldfields Railroad in Waihi (why-he) so that the diehard railroad photographers could get their 'photo fix' :-)


For those interested in steam rail cranes we found a Cowens, Sheldon & Co. ...

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The yard had enough railroad relics to occupy someone interested in restoration work for a long time.  Also it provided lots of opportunities to experiment with a camera.

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Some shots of the yard.  Note the switch that isn't a switch (top right photo) - you would have a hard time going straight!

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Didn't have a lot of time to capture the flowers of the area but managed to get one ...



Open Pit Gold Mine

After leaving the Goldfields Railroad we stopped at an open pit gold mine to see how the mines of today operate.  This mine is scheduled to be closed in a couple of years.  After the mine is closed it will be allowed to fill with water.  The surface of the lake will be at the level of the gravel you see on the right of the photo between the green of the grass and the brown of the soil.  The excavation uncovered old mine shafts which contained abandoned equipment.  This caused them to have to process the ore with magnets to remove any iron debris picked up. 


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180 degree panoramic view of the gold mine

notes:   This view was generated from multiple individual photos.  If you click on this image it will not show full size - possibly wider than your screen.  If you have "auto resize" turned on in your browser the browser will shrink the photo to fit your screen.  


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Here's Joan checking out the size of the trucks you see at the bottom of the mine in the photo above.



Along the way

The beach at MT Maunganui on the Northeast coast at the Bay of Plenty:

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Rainbow Springs Nature Center

This afternoon we visited Rainbow Springs Nature Center.  There were displays of birds, trout, etc. in a dense bush environment.

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Here the guide is explaining about the birds within their aviary with the help of a pet Tui (two-ee).  The Tui would sit on her finger, etc. and was quite demanding of her attention.


Here is their trout pond with a couple of mute swans in attendance.  New Zealand is famous for it's trout fishing and is very protective of it's trout fishing industry.  A fishing license is not very expensive but the fine for catching a trout without a license gets expensive.  The first offense is something like $200 - $500 NZ but there was a case where a commercial guide was caught repeatedly.  His last fine was $20,000 NZ and the confiscation of his boats, all fishing gear, etc.

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On the left the guide is explaining about the Emus (shown), Ostriches, etc.  On the right she's explaining about the Moa.  The Moa is a bird larger than the Ostrich.  Unfortunately the Maori, who used them for food, etc., hunted them to extinction.


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This cute fellow kept a close eye on me ...


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Apparently they have a Wood Pigeon named Bruce who kept confusing this window for a door.



Government Gardens

When we arrived in Rotorua we visited the Government Gardens.  Rotorua is known for its extensive thermal activity similar to Yellowstone Park in the USA.  We'll talk more about this tomorrow.

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The Rotorua Museum of Art and History located on the grounds of the Government Gardens.  In front of the museum were about 6 large manicured bowling greens.


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Elaine standing beside one of the thermal vents on the grounds of the Government Gardens.  The hot water from these vents was used to supply the large bathhouses located on the grounds.  


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Some of the beautiful gardens.


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One of the gardens is dedicated to Rotorua's sister city of Klamath Falls, Oregon.  This was of interest to us because Train Mountain is located near Klamath Falls.  Train Mountain is the largest 7 1/2 inch gauge railroad in the world with 27 miles of track.



Our Hotel

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Our room and view from the Novotel Lakeside Hotel in Rotorua



Next day:  January 7th