As it was just about happy hour, Pumpkin led me away from temptation for vigorous healthy walkies around the nearest lap of the Tongariro River Trail – usually about an hour without time needed for photos. (This is the start of a personal training programme (?) for another tramp in the Kaimanawas in January which you will have to persevere with me…)
Pumpkin’s preferred circuit is to head north up Taupahi Road, cross over the main road bridge and then up and over the hill to return across the Koura Street swingbridge to TRM.
Anywhere else in NZ this would be featured as a premium tourist destination nature ramble or historic iconic scenic hike/bike trail but in Turangi it is just another part of the anglers access along the river. We have so many beautiful options and choices.
Pumpkin’s first delay was just under the Tongariro River bridge across SH1 where the local Maori families were already celebrating the start of summer several weeks ahead of the rest of NZ. See photos above.
Then Pumpkin continued to ‘guide’ me on our clockwise circuit where we took a photo for DOC to illustrate how the gorse is threatening to take over the track. In many places the river views are now completely obscured.
Further south towards the Major Jones pool the track is an absolute delight with the secondary growth foliage creating an arch or natural tunnel – as indicated below – but I suspect a two metre high gorse corridor was not part of DOC’s original design specification.
Hopefully they might read this? Or even better you might mention it to them in the kindest way?
What was also noticeable at this time in Spring were the fruit trees thriving along the trail where tourists have discarded their peach/apple/plum/nectarine stones and now we have an organic orchard thriving. That is what happens in Paradise.
Eventually we had to stop again for Pumpkin’s refuel hydration stop at Major Jones Pool where we discovered the reason for this report – a genuine “Tongariro Virgin”
She is Glenda Lills who was with hubby Kit from Browns Bay in Auckland.
(That probably automatically labels then as South Africans I guess as Browns Bay is a distant suburb of Capetown. We were so careful not to mention Springboks losing the semi-finals of you-know-what – we understand…)
Glenda immediately apologised for her lack of casting style as it was her very first time ever fly fishing on the Tongariro River. So we commend her and forgave her. They were still recovering from the Round Lake Taupo bike ride on Saturday – a mere 180 km sprint – so some sloppiness in casting technique may have been understandable. But what was of more concern was her bravely wet wading while husband Kit was encased in 5mm of warm dry buoyant comfortable neoprene foam winter waders.. He already had one trout on the bank and was looking for the big brother.
We crossed over to the TLB (true left bank looking down river) and again watched their casting style. We needed another pit stop for Pumpkin and had a chat with some other recovering bikers from Hong Kong.
These tourists continually remind us of how precious the Tongariro environment is and how important it is to protect it against pollution, etc. We spent some time to show them how many trout were visible and resting just out of reach and deeper than Glenda’s (and Kit’s) casting range, whilst admiring their casting (?) skills.
So this is a personal message to Glenda and Kit for their next 2016 Round Lake Taupo bike ride. (I suspect you wondered where all this was leading? It is all a promo…)
Next year after the BIG race on 26 November pop into TRM and we will tell you where all the BIG ‘feeding’ trout are waiting for you. The ones you were casting to were still obsessed about procreation stuff and not really interested in a late lunch. It is frustrating watching others trying so hard but feeling helpless or too polite to suggest to them, without being too bullish, a few little things which might help so much – like heavier nymphs, timing, etc. OK?