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Published: March 14th 2018
The springs in the park were good but for a full-on geothermal experience one needs to part with cash. We select Te Puia as it covers 3 NZ essentials; geysers, Haka and kiwis.
Before leaving Rotorua, a brief stop at Government Gardens. Past the Maori carvings and huge wrought the iron gateway is a beautifully manicured Victorian rose garden leading to a vibrant green volcanic lake with random clouds of steam belching forth. It’s both very English and very un-English at the same time.
We continue to Te Puia and opt to start with the Maori cultural performance which includes a Haka. I even get the opportunity to go on stage and learn a Maori dance.
Culture checklist ticked, we head for the biggest geyser, Pohutu. A board explains that the geyser erupts every 30-60 minutes and that the smaller Prince of Wales Feathers geyser is an indicator of when this will happen. There is geyser activity and it looks pretty impressive. The old man explains that this is the small geyser and we sit down to await Pohutu. I’m not convinced but I am informed that I am too impatient and that he is determined to get
his $50 worth. 80 minutes later, with mild sunstroke and having inhaled our bodyweight in sulphurous gassed, he asks a tour guide when Pohutu is likely to spring into action. She says it has been in action continuously for over an hour.
We head off for tonight’s destination, Taupo. We detour for a walk round the Craters of the Moon, a boardwalk round some more geysers and mud pools, but it’s way past lunch time and I’m pretty much over geysers and definitely over sulphurous gas, so we don’t stay long.
We purchase picnic supplies and head for the Huka Falls. It’s a beautiful place for a lunch stop with the roar from the falls where blue-green water turns to white rapids and back again as the river flows through a narrow gorge into a pool. Here adrenaline junkies can spin round and round in a speedboat for no apparent reason.
A few minutes down the road is Lake Taupo. My first impression of Taupo is that it is very pretty. My second is that it scores highly on the weird sculpture scale. After a photo stop, we continue to our hotel, Tuscany on Taupo.
say hotel because the old man told me he booked a hotel. He has in fact booked a B&B. I have programmed Google Maps for Tuscany on Taupo. It informs me we’ve arrived. We drive up and down a residential street several times wondering where the chuffing heck the hotel is. Eventually we find our accommodation, which is very nice. It has access to the lake shore which has a footpath running around it. We take a stroll as the sun sets, stopping for fish and chips.
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