After our trip from Auckland to Pahia, we returned to Auckland to pick up our rental car and continued to explore the North Island of New Zealand. I got quickly used to driving on the left side of the road although I often found myself on the wrong side of the car to get in. We arrived in Taupo on 2nd of March 2002 together with the arrival of the Iron Man. We stayed in a hostel about 200 meters from Lake Taupo, a huge lake in a caldera created by a massive volcanic eruption more than 25.000 years ago. From the rooftop bar we had a stunning view on Mount Tongariro behind the lake.
|Craters of the Moon|
On 4th of March we walked from Taupo to Wairakei Park. We first took a rest on the Hot Water Stream where the thermal water from the mountains flows into the Waikato River. When you go into the water, you can enjoy the mix of hot thermal water and cold river water. We continued our walk and had a picnic at the impressive Huka Falls, just the two of us and lots of sparrows waiting to be served :-) Afterwards we walked to the famous Craters of the Moon where we did a geothermal hike, an unique experience.
We ate our lunch while having a stunning view on several lakes in different colours, green, blue, champagne colour ... The descent was quite hard as our shoes kept disappearing in a thick layer of ash. Everywhere around us steam came out of the ground and the smell of sulphur was always present. After a four hour descent, the last part through a forest, we made it to the end of the trail. We checked out and took the first bus back. In the evening we went to the roof top bar of our hostel to have a beer and looked back at an exhausting but magnificent day. On 6th of March we had a very relaxing day, walked around a bit in the town, went for a nice dinner and of course we went again to the roof top bar for some beers.
The next day we visited Wai-o-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, all its different colours made this the most beautiful thermal area we have seen so far. The Lady Knox Geyser erupts daily at 10:15 exact ... with the help of a little soda ... they discovered this by chance when former prisoners washed their clothes over there. We also visited Tamaki Maori Village where we got a traditional welcome, followed by a walk through the forest where we watched artisans at work. In the evening we enjoyed a wonderful concert and the Hangi, a traditional Maori meal prepared on hot stones.
The last two days of our stay in Rotorua, we took part in the two-day International Walk of the International Marching League (IML). At 8:00 am in the morning, we were ready to start our 20 km Bush Walk. We started in Whakarewarewa State Forest Park where we walked through ferns of 15 meters high. There are also lots of Canadian Redwood trees of 65 meters high, these trees get even much higher in Canada, very impressive. We kept following the track which sometimes disappeared in the forest. We took clothes with us for every weather conditions but it was very hot the whole day, luckily the forest provided some shelter against the sun. In the evening we went to the IML banquet where we enjoyed a good dinner followed by a few dances on the dance floor.
The next day, we walked again 20 kilometers, this time the trail went through the city and its Thermal Parks. In the morning it rained a lot but around 10:00 am it stopped raining and it got really hot again. In the Thermal Park, we saw the steam rising from the ground between the trees and around the lake. People in this city live around boiling mud pools.
|View from InterIslander|
About the Author:
Roger Renders - my father - is on retirement, loves hiking and has done more than 75 multi-day International walks from the International Marching League (IML) for which he was officially honoured by the IML and received the title International Walker.
Freya - Holiday Nomad Travel and Photo Blog