It's not been long since our last blog, but we're making use of the good internet, and besides, we've been quite busy!
Yesterday, we spent the whole day in Rotorua. We started at Wai-O-Tapu 'Thermo wonderland'. We saw loads of geothermal activity- including steam vents coming from deep in the earth, waterfalls, blue/green/yellow lakes, and the famous champagne pools (water at around 200 degrees bubbling away in different colours!). We then rushed over to see Lady Knox geyser errupt (which she does daily at 10:15am- with a little help from a tour guide with some soap!) which was cool to see. On the way out we stopped to see some boiling mud pits (in the heavy rain by this point! brrr!) and had a good time trying to get pictures of the erruptions. Could have watched them for hours! So mesmerising...splat splat splat
Then we had some lunch and decided to go Zorbing! Philippa was more than a little scared but we did it anyway! It was really cold and rainy but they filled the ball with warm water (and soap) and we sloshed and slipped our way to the bottom of the hill and bounced into the fence. It was really fun- we could have gone 100 times if it wasn't so bloomin' expensive!
Afterwards we decided we needed a bit of warming up, so we treated ourselves to a trip to the Polynesian spa. There were five naturally hot pools- all of different minerals and temperature, all over looking Lake Tapu. It was freezing outside but under the water it was lovely (some of the pools were up to 42 degrees)....if a little egg smelly!
Today we drove to Lake Tapu, dropped our stuff at the conveniently named Bradshaw hostel (!) and then headed up to Huka Falls. The water is beautiful here- absolutely crystal clear no matter how deep it gets. We watched the jet boats doing crazy 360 spins in the currents (we have one booked for Queenstown so you'll hear about it later!) and then set off for an hours walk along the river to the hot water springs. These were much hotter than the thermal pools we were in yesterday but also completely naturally occurring. You could see the steam coming off the waterfalls as they flowed in to the cooler river. Wanted a swim but we forgot our swim stuff (d'oh). Paddling was enough though- it was really really hot!
We also went to the Aratiatia rapids upstream, which they turn on and off for hydro electric power. We watched as the stream got to its fullest flow, and then back down again as they decreased the flow. Amazing power! On the way back we went to a geothermal power plant which was also pretty impressive- naturally boiling water flowing everywhere (all around the car!).
Just had a walk on the lake front which is just as clear and beautiful (if a tad windy!). Tomorrow we've off to do a few walks near mount Ruapehu (the very active volcano and Lord of the Rings film set) and then off to Wellington for our crossing to the South Island. Hope it's a bit warmer there!!
D and P xxxxxxxx