New Zealand 2009 – 23rd Day – Lake Taupo and Rotorua

We are now spending our last evening with computers…Even I turned into a geek…

Today we didn’t drive much, only 220 km. At first by lake Taupo, which is very clear, transparent, nice shores, some low, some steep, good views. But it feels a little cold for swimming…Autumn is already here:





Then we looked into those Aratiatia Rapids close to Taupo city:


There are lots of interesting things going on there, but no energy to get into them. By things I mean lots of alternative power stations – they are using this hydro power in creative ways, also geothermal power, and those power stations have their excursions where you can get deeper knowledge about it. Also – there is a prawn farm there where the water is heated by geothermal power. All this area between Lake Taupo and Rotorua is full of thermal activity and there are parks and valleys where you each time purchase a ticket and do their walks around geysers, pools and mud pools. they even have a geyser which in my eyes is more faithful than Old Faithful – it is called Lady Knox Geyser – and it erupts every day at 10:15 am! I think that Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is the best based on price – beauty ratio, but everyone has his own mind and taste… And we had no time or interest to visit all of them. After seeing Yellowstone twice very extensively you feel like “geysered out”.

Close to Rororua we noticed a Maori village – it looked interesting form the outside, but they don’t let youin, unless it is evening and you have a ticket to their concert and hangi meal…



Then we drove to the Burried Village, then to three lakes close by – everything here is shaped by volcanoes and their eruptions.

Rotorua museum:


Back in Rotorua we did a walk by the lake – almost all shore has steams coming…there is a silica beach – with boiling holes in it. Birds like this lake a lot – the water is warm. And light grey because of the sulphur salts in it:





Pukeko hen was wandering in a golf field:


We even soaked in Polynesian baths, took a deluxe one facing the lake, fantastic!


And then walked to a Maori (Arawa tribe) village – Ohinemutu on the side of Rotorua. this is one of rare villages that they permit tourists to visit without tickets. And it is cute, very cute. Especially in this evening sun:







They have an Anglican church and their Maori meeting house facing each other.

Their cemetery is different – they bury above ground because the heat and steams are coming even through the street bricks, through basements, everything. Their village is all in steam. People heat their tea pots in the yard in the boiling pools…


To top the day we had some beer in Pig and Tail pub under big trees full of singing birds in the dark of the night! Strange. Also – the streets of Rotorua were so empty, that you could walk on the middle of the driving part – no cars, no people…Strange…

And that is it, our trip is over! Tomorrow we are driving to Auckland airport. If I see something on the way – I will definitely place it on my blog after we come back. Till then! 🙂