Some photos from last week's trip...
View from Mount Manganui summit, southeast over the town and across the Bay of Plenty. I believe the mountain in the distance is Mount Edgecumbe, maybe 100km away.
View south/southeast from the ridge road near Waimangu, over hills and plains, over Lake Taupo (not visible), all the way to Mt Ruapehu nearly 200km away! You can also see steam rising from some geothermal area, probably Waiotapu.
Classic NZ rural landscape. (I wonder how long it will be before low-end cameras have adequate dynamic range...)
View from the bottom of Waimangu valley, over Lake Rotomahana to Mount Tarawera. Eerie to think of the devastation that poured out of this tranquil basin 121 years ago...
A boiling puddle in Kuirau Park. That's my foot. This is probably a nascent fumarole; most likely it's not really boiling and the bubbles are geothermal gases. But I didn't test it to find out.
The Huka Falls. Here the Waikato river narrows from 100 metres wide and 4 metres deep to 15 metres wide and 10 metres deep, forming a raging cataract. Standard tourist spot but still awesome.
The Hell's Gate mud volcano. It's about two metres high and looks amazingly like Ruapehu. It even experiences similar phenomena, such as lahars (over much smaller time and size scales of course!).
View south from the north end of Hakarimata Scenic Reserve. I'm not sure how far you can see but one of those clusters is Hamilton. The explanatory plaque claimed that it's possible to see Ruapehu but that would be nearly 300km and the conditions were nowhere near good enough.