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Published: October 9th 2010
A Mauri performer at Te Puia
Once we left Auckland we had a good idea of the route we would take to Wellington and a list of must see places and activities to do. We started with a visit Waitomo. Here there is a massive system of underground caves, waterfalls and passages and we were keen to explore. After kitting up in our wetsuits, helmets and lights, our day here was spent abseiling down a waterfalls, climbing up rock faces and crawling in and under passageways filled with water, all this a total of 400ft underground. The entire cave system is littered with stalagmites, stalactites, columns not to mention the millions of glow-worms that light up even the darkest of chambers. This was the perfect start to our many New Zealand adventures. We loved it and were sorry when our day trip ended but it did and it was back to our campsite to spend a final night before moving on. It was still early spring here in New Zealand which meant that this were a bit chilly. Our campsite was part of the local YHA so we made use of their cooking facilities not to mention their warm log cabin communal room.
The 7mt waterfall
day we travelled the short drive towards Rotorua, and we knew we had arrived when we got the distinct smell of sulphur (smells like rotten eggs) which is everywhere due to the numerous volcanic mud pools and steaming craters dotted all over the town. They unique and beautiful and you do get used to the smell, after a day or so we didn’t notice it. Our first activity here was to try the famous New Zealand craze known as Zorbing. Very simply we jumped into a large inflatable balloon with some water and rolled down a hill at full speed. And it was so much fun!
The following morning we went our separate ways, Gemma went to a thermal mud pool and spa followed by a massage while I set off white water rafting on the Kaituna River which included the largest commercial rafted waterfall in New Zealand at 7 metres high. Gemma arrived back to the camp site relaxed and smelling of sulphur while I arrived back soaking wet with adrenalin pumping. That evening we went to a traditional Maori village where we watched a local Maori performance and had a really delicious dinner cooked in a traditional
Maori hangi which for those who don’t know is food cooked in an underground kiln. The food was fantastic and we almost rolled out to our van.
After Roturua we made our way south to Taupo stopping briefly on the way to look at some more beautiful natural volcanic springs, mud pools and the immense Huka falls. These falls throw out 200,000 litres per second and could fill up 50 Olympic sized swimming pools in one minute. That’s a lot of water. While in Taupo the prospects of Stephen throwing himself off a 47 metre high platform to the river below was too much for him to pass up. It was easy decision so while Stephen went off and did his jump I was designated camera person. After a quick look over the edge Stephen leapt off and jumped to the water below and was dunked in up to his ankles.
Another activity that couldn't be turned down was to try our luck at hole in one golf in Lake Taupo. This is a small platoon anchored about 50meters into the lake and with a prize of $10,000 Stephen gave it his best shot. He didn’t win but
Sculptures at Te Puia
he did manage to land it very close on a good few occasions. From here we made our way back to our campsite where we enjoyed the natural mineral hot springs pool and spa attached to our campsite. We just sat back and relaxed for the evening in our own spa thinking about our big hike we had planned for the next day.
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