Auckland Baptist Tramping Club

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After a wet and stormy week we were grateful to God for two fine sunny days with no wind to make for an enjoyable weekend away. We travelled to Rotorua on Friday afternoon and settled in to two cabins at the Rotorua Family Holiday Park at Ngongotaha. Some of us had dinner at a nearby cafe restaurant.


We did a tramp to the Waimangu Volcanic Valley. As we were buying our lunches in Ngongotaha, a friendly Maori guy came up to Andrew, and as they were chatting the conversation turned to karakias, and Andrew prayed for him in Christ. We got to Waimangu at 10:30am and after paying our admission fees we set out on our walk through this tourist attraction admiring at all the different features. The Emerald Pool could be seen down in the valley. We came to the Echo Crater and Frying Pan Lake with its steam rising up from the surface. There were hot springs with terraces of silica formations. Further on was the Inferno Crater which has a “tide” every few weeks, it was at the low tide and we could clearly see the high water mark right around. On a side track we saw a miniature geyser and admired some miniature terraces in the green algae around the springs. We did the Mt Haszard Hiking Trail, an option for fitter visitors only. This began as a steep climb through the bush on steps.  

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As we were having our lunch break on the summit of Mt Haszard with a view out to Lake Rotomahana and Mt Tarawera, John gave the devotions about God’s art galleries. At the Club’s Matariki weekend trip a few weeks before, there was a beach with rock formations in circular patterns outside the Sandspit holiday park. Geologists had never come to a full conclusion as to how they were formed. As he walked along it came into his mind that he was visiting an art gallery of works from the greatest Artist of alltime and in His presence as well, so he called it God’s Art Gallery. We were now wandering through another art gallery of His admiring the lakes, springs, silica formations and much more, with the Artist present the whole time. God has art galleries all over the world – the rock formations of Utah, the corals of Great Barrier Reef, the mountains of Patagonia, and much more. The plumage of sparrows and pigeons also show God’s artistry. Another facet of God’s artwork is the map shapes of the world’s nations – Italy looks like someone in a stiletto shoe kicking a football, Africa resembles someone sitting down and Scandinavia looks like a horse’s head. The real reason for these wonders of nature is that God wants us all to realise there is a Creator instead of just atheistic coincidence, and he wants every single person to come into His kingdom through faith in Christ.

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From there it was a steady downhill through bush to rejoin the main trail. The track was washed away by recent storms, so we had to go on a shuttle bus for 300m to resume the walk at Warbrick Terrace. This was a set of fast-growing silica platforms over an old stream terrace. Fantails were fluttering over them. Framed paintings adorned the whole of the Waimangu trail.

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We finished our walk at 2:30pm just in time to get the free bus back to the start. Distance 4.9km. Ian had lost his cabin keys, so he and Andrew rewalked the trail to hunt for them but with no success.

From there we went on to the Waikite Hot Springs for a welcome soak. Afterwards we decided on the Yaki Yaki Korean restaurant for our dinner. Alex, Ian and Christine had gone back to the holiday park to get a replacement key, and they came back to join us for the meal. Afterwards we went back to the holiday park, very disappointed that Ireland once more thrashed the All Blacks in Wellington 32-22.


John, Andrew and Alex walked down to the lakefront, just two minutes walk from the holiday park. A flock of seagulls at the end of the street were grateful for a breakfast of fish and chips scraps that had been put into a rubbish bin. Jane and Lucy had done this earlier to see the sunrise, they did this the previous day as well. We had our breakfast and packed up, then we headed out to the Redwoods, doing a tiny tikitour drive through central Rotorua and the Government Gardens.

Our tramp for the day was the Tokorangi Pa Track in the Whakarewarewa Forest, beginning at the Redwoods iSite. For our prayer at the start we stood in a circle to sing the Maori verse of God Defend New Zealand. Unlike the national anthems of most other countries, this is a prayer of blessing for our nation and protection from discord, envy, hate and corruption. We set out at 10:35am going through the redwood forest to begin with before a steady climb through the bush to lookout points where we could see Lake Rotorua and Mt Ngongotaha.

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We had our morning tea stop at midday at the top lookout. Andrew gave the devotions about stress, using the day’s reading from The Word For Today. Becoming tense or stressed is an indication that we have taken our eyes off God and set them on circumstances, we are staring at the problem not the solution. When trouble comes we need to focus on God’s presence, He will never leave us. John added that stress is a common cause of all types of illnesses, and how God as a loving dad spanked him in 1999 with a bad flu and swollen throat for taking on too much stress especially with involvement with a green dollar exchange whose committee was bickering a lot. The devotions led to some discussion about stress and scams.

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We carried on and soon the track turned right and began to go downhill to come to the edge of the forest. There was a view of open farmland and we could hear traffic on the road to Lake Tarawera. The track continued along Pipeline Rd, then turned off into the bush once more. We had our lunch break about 1:30pm in a small clearing where stumps of felled trees made good seating. Afterwards we carried on, climbing up once more to come out alongside the land treatment ponds. From there it was a steady downhill on gravel roads and a final level walk back to our starting point. Distance 11.3km.

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It was 3:05pm when we came out back to our cars. We had afternoon tea at the Sequoia cafe before going our separate ways, Ian and Christine to spend a few days in Tauranga, Alex home to Tauranga, and the other four home nonstop via the new motorway that bypasses Cambridge and Hamilton and joins up with the highway bypassing Huntly as day became night.

COST: total travel $71-50, accommodation $86, all meals self-catering