Monday, 7 January 2008


On the day before I arrived in Taupo, Martin, Wendy and the children went up above the snowline on Ruapehu (pronounced Rua paywho). That is something I have yet to experience.

Mount Ruapehu, or just Ruapehu, is an active stratovolcano at the southern end of the Taupo Volcanic Zone. It is 40 kilometres southwest of the southern shore of Lake Taupo, within Tongariro National Park. The North Island's major skifields and only glaciers are on its slopes.

Ruapehu is one of the world's most active volcanoes and the largest active volcano in New Zealand. It is the highest point in the North Island and includes three major peaks: Tahurangi (2,797 m), Te Heuheu (2,755 m) and Paretetaitonga (2,751 m). The deep, active crater is between the peaks and fills with a crater lake between major eruptions.

It figures quite frequently in our news bulletins. At least it did when I was last here because the water level behind the dam was rising and a lahar or mudflow was expected. There had been a major one in 1953 which had caused the loss of 151 lives. Since then warning systems had been put in place. The lahar occurred on 18 March 2007 - a week after I had left New Zealand. No lives were lost.

The last major eruption took place in 1995 although there have been smaller ones since; the latest being in September 2007 which occurred without warning and injured one person.

You can read more information and there are more photos at Wikipedia

Ruapehu from on MV Ernest Kemp on Lake Taupo

Ruapehu across Lake Taupo

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