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Published: November 28th 2006
On the drive to Lake Taupo we drove past quite a few signs for thermal pools but it wasn’t until we where very near to Rotorua that we stopped at an amazing place called Hells Gate. I can not describe how cool this place was. I liked it so much in part due to the geothermal walk that was interesting but mostly due to the really excellent value winter package they offered. While I enjoyed my first ever mud bath Thommo relaxed in the hot spa pool. I really liked the mud bath and the freezing shower afterwards made the hot spa feel even more impressive. After a really long relaxing time (during which time Thommo had to leave or faint) a woman came to get me for my back massage. I have forgotten her name now but she was really good at it, one of the best I have had yet! It was raining quite hard when we left so we headed straight round the outskirts of Rotorua and continued on to Lake Taupo.
By the time we reached Taupo it was dark and the weather hadn’t got any better so we checked into the campsite and then went
Making a way through
Large lorry shows us the way.
to a pub near the lake to have a drink and a few games of pool. We ate crappy take away that evening as I had nothing to cook in the van. I had booked us on to the Skydiving for the following day, however we had heard that sometimes you have to wait for ages for the correct weather conditions. This meant that we were not sure whether to be nervous about the coming day or not!
We woke up in the morning to a massive puddle outside of the van and very cloudy skies that looked liked the promise of more rain. I rang the company and they informed us that it would not be going ahead today but would we liked to book in for the following day, of course! So for the rest of the day we did boring things like washing. And then we ventured into the centre to take a look at the lake, was too dark the previous day to really enjoy it. We went to the cinema to watch You, Me and Dupree, thought it was quite funny really, and then we went to a Irish pub called Finns for a
Just had to be silly and sick my head in here
few pints of cider and some free games of pool!! Love anything that is free! That evening we went to bed and really hoped for good enough weather to jump out of the plane. We were not really tight on time but didn’t want to waste what we had left.
I think Thommo was the first to wake up and look outside and be rewarded with sunshine. Even though it was still cold the weather looked ok, and once the phone call was made we suddenly realised we would shortly be hurtling out of a plane from 15,000ft at roughly 200mph! So we packed the van up and drove out to the jump sites. There was a fair bit of waiting around, getting weighed (what a shock that was!) etc so the nerves had totally died down but the time we made our way to the plane at about 11 30 am. I was really looking forwards to this moment for such a long time, ever since I flew a few small planes in my cadet days I had always wanted to jump out of one. I can say whole heartedly that this was not a disappointment, the best
Lunge by the steam
At Hells gate on the walk around the thermal park.
rush I have ever experienced. The guys we went with were cool and Thommo and I had quite a lot of banter with them at the back of the plane before it was time to dive. The bit I was worried about the most was the landing, I thought it might really hurt my back but it was actually so easy and totally pain free! Afterwards I wanted to go again, I think everyone from the plane did, but being on a budget meant this was not possible! As you would expect we were on a total high for the remainder of the day and headed to Finns to celebrate with some more cider and some more free pool!
Later that afternoon we made our way back to Rotorua, via Huka Falls, to a lovely campsite near a pretty place called Blue Lake. We got there just in time to have the last slot in the spa and try to get our heads down at a reasonable hour. However we were both still on a high so we didn’t sleep much!
In the morning we drove a short way to the Buried Village. This is a really interesting
place as it shows a lot of information about the village that was buried by a massive volcanic explosion some years ago, forgive me for being vague but I can not recall the details very well. I remember the Mountain that was responsible was Mt Tarawera and that the famous pink and white terraces were destroyed along with many lives of the people in the near by village. Some survived but many were either buried under the vast amounts of ash or hit by falling objects. The place is interesting though, they have excavated large parts to show what live was like back then. We also drove on a bit further to get a better look at the mountain from the shore line at Lake Tarawera. You could still see the big bit that had blown off the side. Later that afternoon we drove back into Rotorua and went on the Skyline up another hill to once again act like total children and have a few goes on the luge. The tracks are much longer and I think better here than the ones in Queenstown, however the views are better in Queenstown. That evening we just chilled with a DVD
Looked more impressive when there.
and wrote some blogs.
In the morning we woke up and decided to undertake the walk around the Blue Lake, it was a fairly easy walk and it felt so good to be engrossed by nature, even though a fair bit of the track was only ever a few meters from the road. At one point you could stand on a raised mound and see the Blue Lake (Tikitapu) on one side and the Green Lake (Rotokakahi) on the other, you had to peek over the trees mind! But I really enjoyed this walk and was pleased as we managed to do it in less time than we thought but still stop and take in the amazing views.
From there our journey took us north towards the Coromandel peninsula. It was a lovely drive up there, past loads stunning scenery and we were still pretty high due to the recent past events. We past though several places including Mary beach, Cathedral Cove and a hot water beach. We stopped at the top just outside the town of Coromandel in a beautiful place called Shelly beach. It is not right on the tip as we couldn’t drive the van
Would not like to fall in there!
there. We stayed only one night, it is a small old fashioned town. We wanted to o on the train ride that runs there but we had totally miss timed it and miss it! As our days where running out we didn’t think it worth hanging around for.
On wards to the north of the North Island….
Sorry it is taking me long to write these, more will follow shortly but just to let everyone know I am now working in Perth till Christmas. Having a great time, maybe not the having to work part too much though.
I hope everyone is ok and the weather is not too bad at home, getting fairly hot here some days now.
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