Lake Rotomanu can be translated as “the lake of the birds”.
Perhaps it once was. Now it seems to be a recreational lake for the power-boating community of New Plymouth.I suppose everyone needs somewhere to have fun, and many activities are exclusive of others. There are winners and losers. Taking shots of the water-ski people seemed like a foot in both camps. As you can see from the ducks in the path of the skier, they are not easily dislodged.
With the sun behind them, I have to confess that they put on quite a show.
We went North to Mokau where we hoped to join the once a day birding trip up the Mokau river. Sadly I looked at the schedule for the other company, and the only boat that went that day left an hour before we got there. Not to worry. We drove up Te Mahoe Road on the Northern bank of the river and were utterly entranced by the beauty of the landscape and the peacefulness of the river. Every few metres there was a small jetty with a rudimentary shelter from which keen whitebait fishers seek their elusive quarry. Thus inspired we went back to Mokau village where I enjoyed a magnificent whitebait fritter for lunch.
We explored other back roads and loved it all, from Mohakatino and Tongaporutu, until we saw a sign that mentioned Mount Damper Waterfall. We drove thirty or so kilometres in wild and rugged county until at last we reached Mt Damper station. Some drizzle was falling and in the distance I could hear the shrill whistle of the farmer, and the barking of the dogs as a huge mob of sheep was being moved. The pattern along the hillside was a delight.
What we had not realised, was that they were being driven around the head of a valley and were soon coming along a narrow ridge straight towards us. We had to get of the track to let the sheep progress, but it was interesting to be among the mustering action.
When the flock had passed we carried on towards the waterfall, about 20 minutes from the gate. Again the bush had a wonderful serene quality to it and was a joy to walk in. We emerged within earshot of the falls and looked out through the mist and drizzle to the valley very far below. That’s quite a wide river down in the gully.
And there, to our left, Mt Damper Waterfall was spurting out over a sheer drop and falling in a feathering veil to some spot down in the bush beyond our ability to see. It’s not a huge volume of water, but it is a very long drop.
It was a splendid day.