Posts Tagged ‘Rotorua’

Rapids, Waterfalls and Geothermal Wonderlands

Aratiatia Rapids – Taupo

Aratiatia Rapids releases water from the Waikato River into Lake Okahuri. Mighty River Power releases water down the rapids several times a day and people flood the bridge to watch it happen.

Aratiatia Rapids (before the dam was opened) - Taupo

Aratiatia Rapids (2 minutes after the dam was opened) - Taupo

Just down the road from Aratiatia Rapids…

Huka Falls – Taupo

Huka Falls

The geothermal area of New Zealand is interesting…you feel as though you’ve stepped into Jurassic Park!

Craters of the Moon – Taupo

Craters of the Moon - Taupo

Craters of the Moon - Taupo

Whakarewarewa Village – Rotorua

There is a village within Rotorua where a small group of Maori people still live. They guide visitors through their village (guiding is a longstanding tradition for the Maori women) and show how they have historically used the geothermal activity in the area to live (cook, bath, etc.) and still do. It was very interesting. Imagine having a natural hot spring in your backyard to use as your bath and for cooking in; electricity bills would be significantly cheaper…

Whakarewarewa Thermal Village

Hangi (earth over) where they cook meat, vegetables and pudding

Cook corn, green veggies, etc. in this pool

Wharenui (Maori meeting house)

Pohutu Geyser

Lady Knox Geyser – Rotorua

Lady Knox Geyser was discovered by some prison inmates when they were out clearing bush and decided to take a bath in the natural hot spring that runs through here. The geyser erupted when one of the inmates dropped the soap…

Lady Knox Geyser before eruption

Lady Knox Geyser - after the soap has been dropped...

Geothermal Wonderland – Rotorua

Devil's Bath

Mud Pool – Rotorua

Bubbling, spurting, gurgling mud…hilarious!

Mud Pool

We arrived on the south island yesterday by way of Wanganui, where we had spent two days on a new friend’s sheep farm. Stories and photos from our time there next time I can find unlimited internet access to upload some photos!

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Wellington to Auckland via Hastings, Napier, Taupo, Rotorua and a load of small towns and villages

Too much to do, not nearly enough time to write. I have spent more time in McDonalds so far on this trip than ever in my life. McD’s here are nice, clean and offer free Wifi!! And their coffee is good…

I’m falling more in love with New Zealand the longer I’m here. We’ve done some good back-road tours and have also hit all the big cities on the north island. This weekend we’re heading to Auckland for the weekend to visit a highschool friend of Noah’s, catch the England vs. France quarter-final game (we have sweet seats!) and check out the city. Next week, we’re south island bound by way of Waitomo caves to do some caving under the light of the glow worms (riverfloat but underground, lit by glow worms? Paisley gang – I’ll be thinking of you all!).

Camper van living is hilarious and must be the best way to explore. We’ve mostly been doing freedom camping and staying in free spots. There are public bathrooms and showers everywhere here making it very easy to survive with just our little van.

Pictures!

They really know how to do museums here. Both the Wellington Museum and Te Papa (New Zealand National Museum – crazy high-tech, loads of fun and free!)

Te Papa

And because we’re both geeks, we spent a good part of a day at the New Zealand Parliament. They built an addition to the building and call it the beehive. This building mostly houses offices but we weren’t allowed cameras actually inside the Parliament buildings. Their debating chamber is considerably smaller than ours but generally laid out the same way. They also have beautiful committee rooms (The Maori affairs one is stunning!).

Beehive - New Zealand Parliament

East coast of the north island is cool; we got off the main route and drove a load of back roads and found some beautiful scenery and random locations.

Longest Place Name - Taumata whakatangi hangakoauau o tamatea turi pukakapiki maunga horo nuku pokai whenua kitanatahu

Crazy winding highway through a canyon (posted speed limit was 100 km/h!! We definitely drove slower than that in our old van...)

In Rotorua, we rolled down a hill in a big inflatable ball filled with warm water. Again, very random but it was hilarious and fun!

Rolled down the hill is this thing. Ogo - giant inflatable ball filled with water.

Yup - pretty random

I’ve run out of data in three different locations now…free wifi only gets you so far. I’ll post more pictures tonight!