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The Carrot Capital of New Zealand is Ohuakune.

Many of the early growers were Chinese who cleared and ploughed the free draining soil and habitated the cool climate which is ideal for growing conditions.  It’s also a popular base in winter for skiers using the nearby ski fields and in summer for trampers hiking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing.

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Lake Rotopounamu made for a lovely stroll into the native fauna and expose kids to giant Rata trees, Fantail birds and ripples of inland lake water.  Nothing here made in China!  Vents of vapour escape what lies below the crusted earth reminding us that we were in a thermal geothermal area.

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The Tangiwai  Rail Disaster monument is a memory of such.  On the 24th December 1953, 151 passengers lost their lives as the express train derailed into the river bed due to a collapsed bridge caused by a ‘Lahar’ that raged down the mountainside only minutes before the train reached the bridge.

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It is New Zealand’s worst rail accident.

A soak in a hot pool at Tokaanu Thermal Pools soothed the bones after the mountain bike ride the day before.  Stay in the jets of heat too long and you too can age prematurely with water wrinkles.

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The ‘haere ra’ to new friends made had us retrace our route back to Wellington.  We are so fortunate to have a magical land where parts of Canada ridden was replicated here.  It stirred the emotion of why we travel.  Goosebumps too.

Our flights are booked for us to make our way to the top of this island. Not long now before we take the first steps on the Te Araroa Walk.

A visit to Te Papa Museum in Wellington itself served two purposes.  A catch up with a close friend Delwyn for my regular clip around the ear for cheeky comments made from behind a keyboard.  And, to wander through the Gallipoli exhibit.

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Jeez, this was impressive.  Not the clipping of the ear but the exhibit!  The life like giant figurines portraying life on the peninsula were realistic, right down to the veins on arms and beads of sweat on the brow.  It brought home the significance of us having walked from Istanbul to Gallipoli back in 2011.

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Te Araroa, the Rurus are coming!

Happy birthday Barry.  Cheers Cuz.

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