Taupo Region

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October 21st 2010
Published: October 22nd 2010
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Thursday 21st October:
After failing miserably to experience any thermal immersion first-hand in Rotorua, we got up early to explore the Lake Taupo region. Chauffeur Dave was given strict instructions to head for the first bit of steam you see. Luckily, the Severn Valley Steam Railway doesn't stretch this far, so the target burst of steam led us nicely to Waikiti Thermal Pools. It was a really cold, windy day so Dave was a little unsure about getting stripped off to bathe outdoors. However, a quick 360 degree spin in the closest phone booth morphed him into Dario (minus the ponytail, David!!) and he braved the elements like a trooper. Waikiti consists of 6 outdoor thermal pools, heated to between 39 and 42 degrees celsius, and set against the beautiful vista of the NZ mountains. After my skin bore a startling resemblance to a prune, Dave insisted it was probably time to get out. Boo! We then took a short Eco Walk to look at the source of the hot spring (Te Manarua Boiling Springs) where it bubbles away nicely at 98 degrees. I thought it might be a plan to nip to the waters edge and re-do the white wash that still smelt of eggs from Rotorua.

Next stop was Wai-Te-Pau to look at the thermal mud pools. Having only been dry for a few minutes, we just looked and didn't go for a full on roll around in it. Furthermore, someone told us that it can strip your suntan - there's no chance of topping it up in New Zealand and Dario has an image to maintain, don't you know!.

We then meandered over to the Aratiatia rapids, which aren't really rapids anymore because the government plonked a hydroelectric dam across the Waikato River. However, the spectacle hasn't truly disappeared as the floodgates open daily at 2pm (cue a look at the watch - 1.30pm. Cool!). We took a walk to the lookout points and waited for he action. The little trickle of a stream morphs into gushing rapids in the space of a few minutes.

Final stop of the day is Lake Taupo. Nestled nicely on the stunning lakeside is a MacDonalds. No ordinary MacDonalds, though, as it had a DC3 plane built into the infrastructure and painted in red and yellow. Therefore, we felt quite justified popping in for a Big Mac and fries (sorry David!). We had a bit of an explore and soon found that pretty much the only interesting feature of Taupo is the lake and therefore, we got a room with a view, got take away food and looked out from the warmth of a hotel room.

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26th October 2010

Doom and the Rafting Bug
As I read your Taupo region blog the cerulean sky has suddenly dissipated as storm clouds and lashing rain descend at the mere sign in print of the heinous act of entering the very portals of hell and consuming a BIG MAC. I shall have to take to my bed to recover but before doing so and whilst sufficient strength remains perhaps I might suggest some form of absolution in a trip to Turangi where I understand it is possible to go white water rafting. It the sort of madness that you seem to enjoy. However beware! There is a rare but virulent insect known as the "Rafting Bug", one bite from which will cause severe skin and hair discolouration. The latter turns yellow, the arms become a gangrenous green and there is severe in flammation and reddening to the chest. This results in constriction of the blood vessels to the lower region giving a blue effect to the midriff and a tightening of the skin on the legs which go black. From a distance this gives the impression of wearing tights. Should these symptons arise, and they are highly contagious, seek out the nearest pharmacy and ask for a large pot of Fenugreek and Cade Oil Ointment. Spread liberally over the body and a cure will be effected within 48hours. The only side effect to this treatment is the smell emanating from the unguent is attractive to large muscular dogs whose owners will have undoubtedly provided them with such machismo appelations as Fang, Bruno or similar. I'm off now to take my blood pressure tablets in the hope they will reduce the stress created by the BIG MAC reference. Much love from us

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