Six cars left Bracken Ave just after 7am. We travelled in steady rain all the way. Through trial and
error, we discovered the Raglan exit off the new Waikato expressway led to SH39 and our meeting point
just after the first roundabout. After helping the lost drivers meet up with us, we continued south
in convoy (8 cars) on SH39 to Meadway Rd (left) and then Paterangi Rd, turning into Bank Rd, to meet
Alasdair, our leader, at the Ngaroto Carpark (newly sealed and with toilets provided).|
into two groups with each going a different way around the lake. Boardwalks and well-formed gravel paths
gave us a firm pathway right around the lake. The wide border plantings of natives, all fenced off from
the pastures was impressive. Notice boards around the lake informed us of the processes involved, to
make this a clean, sustainable environment for the birds and fish. The yacht club was in action with
many yachts out on the water, showing the benefits of the lake for recreation. Our walk around the lake
took 1.5 hours.
Then we followed Alasdair on a series of local roads, to Lake Rotopiko (or Serpentine
Lake) which is actually two lakes now, as the peat has accumulated dividing the lake in the middle.
Here we entered inside the predator-proof fence through a two door entry. (how many did we fit into
the enclosure between the 2 gates, before we closed the first door, and opened the second?) The lush
green foliage among native trees was impressive. Taking us to a shelter for educational groups, we found
seats and a dry area for lunch. Alasdair shared how the DOC and the community group managing these lakes
is being led by the National Wetland Trust with assistance from Living Waters. He related this to the
effort involved in making these lakes clean, for the inhabitants. His devotions used this metaphor to
apply to improving our lives so we can be ‘Living Water’ to others.
We walked the paths alongside
the predator proof fence in a short circuit back to the double gate. Returned to our cars and drive some
more local roads, back through Ohaupo township, to Lake Rotomanuka. Parking on the hill, we could view
the lake, with its fenced off border of native trees again ensuring cattle do not graze at the lake edge.
Since 1999 Alasdair and Karen have been involved with planting this area, a part of which is their own
property. From their house on the hill above, they overlook the lake, and have given great energy and
time into restoring the shores of the lake and trapping the pests. From Living Waters ‘container store
sheds’ they served tea and coffee and gave us an interesting talk about their work in developing the
area. Alasdair explained the general work of the area including how planting higher up on the hillside
avoids rubbish and storm water even reaching the lakeside. Karen explained 3 types of traps, how they
work, and the target pests for each one. Then we were able to walk to the lake and see traps placed
among the plantings, and one with its catch still inside!
All the trampers left very appreciative
of all they had seen and learned during our lake walks.