Hot steamy baths, bubbling mud and erupting geysers were the focus of my next explorations in New Zealand.
I had the privilege of being able to borrow a friends car which not only saved me some money but also gave me the freedom to roam where I chose and at leisure. The drive along the Thermal explorer highway from Auckland was pretty much standard and it was only once I reached the Huka Falls near Taupo that I felt like things were starting to get interesting. I watched the bright blue water of the falls for a while before heading off to see my first official thermal activity at the craters of the moon. I looked into a smokey landscape – puffs of white cloud steaming from the ground with the odd eggy smell wafting past.
Leaving Taupo (pronounced Toe-Paw) I headed towards my friend Ang’s parents farm, Omahamui for 2 very cosy nights. My treat at the farm was being able to kayak on a glass looking river and see plenty of geothermal activity along the way. Stopping to explore and feel the warm water was wonderful, it did however mean that the trip back to the farm around 6pm was very cold and the 4km felt a lot longer.
Wai-tapu was the next destination and is known as the most colorful of all the thermal wonderlands. It lived up to expectations as I passed green, copper, yellow pools puffing with steam. It certainly was a good adventure plus the added fact that I got to see Lady Knox geyser erupt at the set time of 10:15am – with the help of a little soap, very sneaky.
Rotorua was not such an amazing town but it certainly was at the centre on what was on offer. The weather was not wonderful either but I got to see some Kiwi birds at the Kiwi Encounter and hear all about the breeding program they have in place. Such cute little birds it would be sad to see them become extinct in the world and this organisation are doing a wonderful job by having hatched over 1000 eggs this summer.
It was back to the beaches in the Bay of Plenty and Coromandel after all this thermal activity. I fell in love with the Mercury Bay area and decided to stay 2 nights in Hahei so I could walk along to the famous cathedral cove and later watch with interest the people building their own little hot pools on hot water beach. So not totally moving away from thermal wonders I found it fitting to end this part of my journey in Miranda on the seabird coast with a long soak in one of the hot pools.
Cactus Jacks Backpackers – 1210 Haupapa Street, Rotorua, New Zealand
Tatahi Lodge Motel – Grange Road, Whitianga, New Zealand