Oceania Travel

Taupo to Rotorua

3 January 2012

We have entered thermal land. In Rotorua the air smells eggy and quite regularly we see geysers letting off steam at various points all throughout the city. Rotorua is a very touristy city, not just for the thermal action but also for the various Maori cultural experiences on offer.

Rotorua is only about a one hour’s drive from Taupo. We left pretty early this morning and realised that it had been raining slightly overnight. The sky was looking grey and very unfriendly.

Our first stop was Huka Falls. There are three sets of falls on the river leading out from Lake Taupo which extends all the way north near Auckland. The water was a beautiful icy blue and the one fall we did see was very powerful. Every moment the waters erode more and more of the surrounding rock, creating a deeper river valley.

Nearby was a place called Craters of the Moon. It was here that we received our first whiff of eggy sulphur. This attraction was full of steaming geysers, craters and mud pools. Pretty crazy.

Back on the road and the rain began again. Before long we had arrived to the outskirts of Rotorua and drove past a few more geysers. They really are everywhere.

We arrived at hostel but at this stage the rain had cleared up a little. We had planned to go white water rafting today but it had been cancelled due to heavy rainfall by the Kaituna River. We spent our day exploring the city.

We began at the huge redwoods forest, a beautiful, cool and wet forest full of mammoth Californian redwoods. Although these trees were only planted in 1901, generally they were all at least sixty metres tall. When you imagine being lost in a forest, this is the one. It was so peaceful and dreamy.

We then found a short coastal walk full of geysers and mudpools. It was very informative. Signs told us that years and years ago, men would bathe in these muddy pools although the benefits were not really explained. Apparently after leaving these pools the men would stink and would also be stained brown.

We headed to a big park within the city which was also full of thermal action. These geysers are everywhere you look.

We spent some time souvenir shopping and then headed back to the hostel to relax. Dinner time followed and then a special treat — New Zealand’s popular and very delicious Hokey Pokey ice-cream, followed by a chocolate fish.

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