On 13 April the Year 12 Geography classes drove down to Tongariro National Park to gather data for our research assignment on the slopes of Mt Ruapehu along The Bruce Road. On our way we had lunch in Taupo and began filling out our research assignments. After having arrived at our first 30 metre transect site at the Mounds, we battled our way through the dense vegetation to find our own place to begin measuring and recording the spatial variation of fauna species, as well as recording gradients, soil and wind temperatures and wind speeds. After documenting all our data and admiring a magnificent sunset, we headed to our overnight accommodation, at Pipers Lodge in National Park Village. Dinner was a warm hearty meal followed by a delicious supper. Afterwards we reassembled in the dining room to collate and review all our records in each of our groups.
Freshly awoken at 6:30 after a good night’s sleep, we had breakfast and cleared our rooms to get ready for our trip home. Before we went home we completed two more transects. Our second transect was quite a bit further up ‘The Bruce’ at Silica Flats, there was much less vegetation so our measurements were much quicker. Our last transect was at Scoria Flats, where there was virtually no vegetation above 50 centimetres. After being debriefed, we drove up to Iwakau Village and took a trip on the ski lifts.
On our way down we had one final stop at the Whakapapa visitor centre, where one of the park rangers gave us a presentation on the importance of the involvement of the Department of Conservation in this area. We then packed ourselves back in to the vans and headed back home.