A long day of driving was spent on our journey to Lake Taupo where we arrived just as the Sun was setting. Interesting things we had seen on the journey included very small horses and a sheep which appeared to be in perfect health aside from the fact that it was upside down. We found a site on the lake where we assumed we could park (there was a smelly public outhouse which is usually a good sign). The sunset was really pretty yet again as we watched it disappear behind the lake.
|It's not dead, it's just upside down|
Heading into Rotorua the following day, we were in the region to check out some of the cool geological points of interest and the first item on the agenda was Huka Falls in Wairakei, a beautiful and powerful blue waterfall. It was definitely worth seeing and a pretty area in general. Next we visited a place called ‘Craters of the Moon’ which was an awesome area of land which had lots of thermal activity going on under the surface that represented itself above with lots of sulphur-smelling smoke and bubbling mud pools from what actually look like craters. Even the ground beneath your feet is hot as you walk on a landscape which appears post-apocalyptic. Continuing on our wonders of geography quest we specifically chose a campsite which had geothermal, heated pools which really didn’t smell too bad once you were in them (maybe we got used to it and you could apparently drink the water). We met a friendly couple of Kiwis who were here to do some mountain biking, another popular pastime for this region.
|Craters of the Moon|
|More geothermal activity from the craters|
We were both reluctant to engage in anything too ‘touristy’ so whilst we wanted to experience a Maori village and get a full dose of their culture, we didn’t want to shell out a hundred bucks each to dress up like an idiot and learn the Haka with a bunch of Western jolly seekers. Instead we went by foot to an actual small Maori town which was positioned amongst actual geothermal pools (you could seriously scold yourself if you accidentally fall in). It was a really nice setting and the people were very friendly. We visited a Maori church which was a bizarre mix of Christianity and Maori culture, the glass engraving of Jesus shows him wearing a traditional cape and the décor is distinctly tribal. Taupo was supposed to be a great place to do white water rafting so we tried our best to book a trip but with no joy as weather conditions meant that the best river was flooded and rafting would involve going back on ourselves. Fishing was also something we were keen to do but again the weather snubbed us. Understanding that we were fighting a losing battle and our time considerably ticking away in New Zealand we headed onwards to a town called Tauranga, camping at another site with geothermal pools.
|Statue at the church|
|Engraving of Jesus from inside the church|
|Geothermal Park in Rotorua|