19.01.2014 - 21.01.2014
We had a great few days on excursions out of Roturua and forgotten to mention the town itself, which is an oversight as its lovely if you can put out of your mind the eggy fart smell which permeates through the town from all the geothermal activity in the area. This is not the place to be with a hangover and just when you think you have got used to it a more pungent waft will hit you.
Rotorua in Maori means 'second lake' and this area used to be famous for the Pink and White terraces which were the 8th wonder of the world but this was destroyed in 1886 when Mt Tarawera erupted destroying villages and killing 120 people.
We stayed at a fantastic hostel that Dee had found called Central Backpackers, it was really homely and a bit like a rabbit warren inside as it was several terrace houses linked together. The owner was really helpful and friendly too.
We took a walk to Kuirau park to check out what was causing all the smells. It was a strange place to be as you would be walking over green lawns turn a corner and see a plume of steam coming out of the ground invariably with a bubbling mud pit underneath it!
Taking advantage of the naturally heated water there are pools that you can dip your feet in. It used to be that the locals here all used this water to heat their homes and have their own spas at home but this has now been regulated.
Our next stop was Lake Aniwhenua were we would be having another cultural experience. Apparently this one would be better than the last one and we would have the opportunity to learn some Maori skills like weaving with flax and eel fishing. We waited for over an hour for the bus to pick us up only to then be taken to the supermarket round the corner where we waited for another hour, something wasn't right that morning. Turns out that the place we were going to stay had had a power cut and so without running water which they can only get from using generators they weren't able to have guests.
This was really disappointing for everyone and we all felt it was a morning wasted hanging around for bad news. We wouldn't be going to Lake Aniwhenua but would stay in Taupo instead.
On the way we stopped off to check out the Huka Falls which is on the Waikato river is flows out of Lake Taupo. With the water channelled into this narrow gap it has a lot of force and shoots out over the falls. It is the speed and amount of water going over the falls that make it famous and 200,000 litres of water go over the falls every second which is the equivalent of filling 5 Olympic size swimming pools every minute! The force of the water is so strong that it prevents fish and eels from navigating upstream, this is why there are no eels in Lake Taupo.
The colour of the water was an awesome chilly blue so it was mesmerising to look at.
Competing with the roaring noise of the river were the cicadas. Its incredible how loud these guys are and one decided to take a closer look at Dan!
Taupo is famous for its HUGE lake and it is massive! It is the largest lake in New Zealand and covers the same amount of space as the whole land area of Singapore! if you didn't know it was a lake you would think it was the sea. Back in 181AD there was a massive eruption which created this huge hole that filled with water. The crater eruption was so large that red skies were even reported over China in its wake.
By the time we got to Taupo it was already late afternoon so there wasn't really time to do anything and we didn't have the skills to take on the golf challenge in the wind so we decided to cut our losses with a drink at the pub and hope for a better day.