Auckland Baptist Tramping Club

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Eighteen members enjoyed a lovely weekend of day tramps in Rotorua, led by John McCarthy and Andrew Lethbridge. We travelled there in the afternoon and checked in to the Rotorua Family Holiday Park at Ngongotaha. We were in four motel units, and for dinner we went to the nearby shops and bought takeways to eat back in our cabins. At 7pm we gathered in unit 2, the largest of our cabins, for our briefing. Margaret had made a yummy chocolate cake which we ate afterwards.


We had our breakfast in cabin 2 before setting out for Kerosene Creek. Our planned walk was to tramp from there through the forestry roads to Lady Knox Geyser and on to Echo Lake. a trip the club had done several times over the years from the 1990s.

We began our walk at 9:50am, having a look at the steaming thermal stream cascading over small waterfalls, As the bush track beyond this became rough, we turned back and followed the road, turning right into Mud Volcano Rd. This was through pine forest, alter opening out into felled forest with views of the hills and one or two plumes of steam from hot springs. When we got back into the pine trees again, we came across a tree that had fallen across the road. We were able to push our way through, only to find more of these, and we came to one that was so big it was impossible to get through or around it. There was no choice but to turn back, then go along a side road that would lead to the track to Echo Lake. That was good to begin with, but alas more trees blocking the way, even worse than the ones we had encountered. there was now no option but to return to the carpark and go somewhere else.  Distance 8.4km, maximum speed 8.5km/h, average speed 2.8km/h.

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We were back at the carpark at 12:50pm, and had lunch near a shelter displaying information about the area. John gave devotions about miracles. Many Christians have given up believing in miracles, but really miracles do happen today. When you trust God for a miracle, there is nothing worse than unbelief. It is impossible to know what God is doing based on how things look on the surface. Jesus told Jairus' father not to be afraid but to believe. Jesus took his dad and mum to the dead child, told the daughter to get up, and she got up right away and walked. In 2014 Grayson Kirby was thrown fr om a racing car, and injured so severely he would either not survive or become a vegetable. But his family turned to prayer, and supported by thousands in the community, and ten days later Grayson woke up to say "I love you" to his dad, and that God, prayer and believing saved him.  Nothing is impossible, faith can move mountains, miracles can include financial issues as well as sickness and injury. There are three keys to answered prayer (1) speak God's word over the problem (2) expect the answer, do not doubt al all (3) forgive those who have caused the problem, including yourself.

Our original suggestion was to climb Rainbow Mountain, but the direct track there turned out to be a downhill mountainbike track taboo to all walking. We settled on a walk around Lake Okaro, a short drive away. Setting out at 1:45pm we did the clockwise circuit of the lake. The first half was mostly level and suitable for wheelchairs, then the track began to climb to a viewpoint where we could look out across to Mt Tarawera as well as across the lake. The track carried on around the lake, and we finished back at the carpark at 2:40pm. Distance 2.3km, maximum speed 7.8km/h, average speed 2.6km/h.
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The Waikite hot pools made for a welcome soak, as well as coffee afterwards in the pool's cafe. Not only did we give our feet a good exercise, we decided our wallets needed a good workout as well. For dinner on our way back, we went to Eat Streat, a mall of restaurants in Rotorua. Most of us dined at Ambrosia, but Justin and Sophie Y went to another one. Thanks to a long wait for a tiny dessert, we got away at 8pm to return to the holiday park in time to watch the NZ beat France in the Women's Sevens rugby.
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We had our breakfast and packed up our luggage, checked out of the holiday park, and were away at 9:20am for Blue Lake. Our walk was the track around the lake, and we set out at 10am to do this in the anticlockwise direction. This was a pleasant bush walk, and when we reached the south end of the lake after spotting a beach through the bush, we took a side track hoping it would get there. This track showed on the map as joining back onto the main track, but like yesterday we came across fallen trees that were impossible to get around.

We returned to the main track and went around to the junction with the Green Lake track, just as a convoy of horse riders passed by. At this point we found the track down to the beach, where we had a brief morning tea break. From there we carried along the east side of the lake, a bush track nearly all the way with high water and low water options - we did the low water one as the lake wasn't in flood. We came out back to the carpark about midday, and saw the Rotorua Duck amphibious tour boat sail in to the beach and drive up onto the road. Distance 6.4km, maximum speed 11.2km/h, average speed 2.7km/h.
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Gary presented our devotions. He said that like the trees in the bush, we start as nothing and grow up into something tall. He is going through a lot at the moment, and keeps on thinking positive, even though lots of people knock him around. Thinking of the beauty around us, we need to share the appreciation of what we have in NZ. Gary told of how he was touched by a lone tourist on a beachj smiling at him. He felt lucky to have Margaret as his wife. Trees can be thousands of year old much longer than we can be on earth. In the craft of woodturning, one can get a plain piece of wood and make something out of it.

Our trip was now formally over. Some of the group went on to the Redwoods to do one of the easy walks through the pines, while others wanted to get home in plenty of time before dark.
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