Monthly Archives: October 2012

New Zealand Guest of Honour at Frankfurt Book Fair


Well done New Zealand!  We were showcased at the world’s largest book fair which featured 7,300 exhibitors from 100 countries.  A staggering 90,000 people attended the 165,000 square metre site.  What fabulous exposure for our literary talent, and a bigger payback for us than the Rugby World Cup (the what?).  And with 65,000 German visitors to New Zealand each year, why would they not want to absorb the flavour of our country by reading as much as possible before they arrive.

Here’s to all us Indie Authors, especially New Zealand Indie Authors, for surely we must also benefit from the success of our compatriots who featured in Frankfurt.


Subduction in the North Island


Imagine you are standing at the top of Sky City and you are high enough to see big picture New Zealand.  You are looking south at the Kaimanawas (east of Taupo), down the Ruahines and the Tararuas.  Those mountain ranges form the axial spine of the North Island.  Why?  Because the Pacific Plate is subducting beneath the Australian Plate.  Note the direction of the crust as it plunges into the shallow mantle.  It’s dragging the eroded material (detritus) from the volcano back into the melting pot.  Two things happen from this.  It causes drag and the result is lots of little earthquakes (earthquake swarm).  It also forms quite a trench to the seaward side.  Think – Hikurangi Basin.  Here endeth today’s geology lesson.

Lake Surprise


Did I give the impression that the dynamic Crater Lake is the only lake on Mt Ruapehu?

Nestled on the south west flank of the mountain is Lake Surprise.  The easiest access is off the Ohakune Mountain Road’s 15 km mark.  This is above the tree line.  From here you drop steeply down a rock staircase and cross a waterfall at the bottom.  This is stunning with silica deposits on the rock, exactly like the submerged Pink and White Terraces of Tarawera.  On a fine day you can see Mt Taranaki in the distance.  Traversing the Mangaturuturu Valley you cross the  Mangaturuturu River where gorgeous stands of beech forest grow and then gently amble up to Lake Surprise.  A board walk is situated alongside the lake thus avoiding the need to get those boots wet in the bog.

This walk a great way to spend a summer’s day on Mt Ruapehu.  Ohakune Mountain Road to Lake Surprise without stops is only an hour and a half.

I recommend staying at Rocky Mountain Chalets (especially Chalet 27 which has king,  queen and twin rooms).