After visiting four Hikurangi open homes within an hour and 500 metres of each other (three of them asking almost exactly the same price) I drove up to Waro lake with my lunch.
I've written about Waro before when I paid my first visit out of geological interest over a year ago. That time I was too shy to climb up the mound and explore in amongst the dense hill of rocks that was a lake floor 25-30 million years ago. The Karst formations are so imposing, so grand, so special that I felt that my human presence would be an imposition. I don't know the Maori stories about it but I feel sure it must be considered tapu.
But on this balmy Sunday afternoon there were several groups of people wandering about and so I realised that it is frequently visited. Venturing up a few rough tracks I found myself in a series of magical places. The rocks have been weathered over 5 million years into sensuous curves, ripples, stacks and holes. Trees and bushes have grown up between them and in some cases through them. There are secret rooms, caves and tunnels. There are open air chapels and cathedral towers.
Sadly, aside from some DoC interpretive signs there doesn't appear to be any management of the place. It could be a wonderful tourist attraction if it was tidied up a bit, the noxious weeds eradicated and the surrounding area mowed instead of grazed by these interesting shaggy long horned beasts! The picture is a bit blurry because I didn't feel it would be wise to get too close to those serious horns, and my phone-camera has a limited focus.