There is a plethora of geothermal attractions in the Taupo-Rotorua area. So much so in fact that the road between them is know as the thermal Explorer highway . There are a range of options that can be tailored to suit most budgets. I’d recommend researching each before you go and work out what you want to see and go from there. There is everything from beautiful pools of varying colours, to bubbling mud, geysers, rising steam, and of course hot pools.
An Unexpected Visit
Akaroa was an entirely unintentional foray. After waking up slightly damp after Cayley’s roof leaked in a storm, we were unable to go “onward” past Arthur’s pass because the self containment sticker was still in the postal system – and due any day back in Christchurch. So leaving the angry squall nestled in the mountains behind us, we headed back to the sunshine that glistened over the Canterbury plains. Akaroa had been on the periphery of our planning, as somewhere ‘nice’ to go, but not “nice enough” to make it onto our must do itinerary. It made up for the rather dismal start we’d had thus far in Cayley and set us up for the rest of the trip.
Te Puia o Whakāri
When you land amidst the ruins of the old sulphur factory, you wonder what it must have been like living in this desolate place for months at a time. The volcano itself descends some five thousand feet below sea level to reach the seafloor, but its crater and surrounding rim extend a mere 300m above the sea. This makes it one of the most accessible volcanoes in the world, with no need to traipse up a mountainside for hours to reach signs of volcanic activity. The tour itself is little more than a pleasant stroll, albeit through steam that hangs ominously in the air. Indeed, in Maori its name means “the dramatic volcano”, and as you approach the island by boat, you get a bubbling sense of anticipation. The steam that emits from the island’s centre seems to merge seamlessly with the blue sky, forming a backdrop of white clouds. It is this ever present cloud that caused Captain Cook to name it “White Island”. We booked a tour on Peejay, and spent the day exploring!
Ian was really keen to have a go at sailing in an America’s Cup Boat, but the prices on the quayside were a little pricey. Luckily bookme.co.nz had an offer on, so we booked our tickets and then excitedly headed down to the ticket booth at the time stated on our letter. We were handed our boarding passes, and waited with a growing group of tourists before being ushered through the gates and onto a boat. Which was not an American Cup boat. Continue reading
The Pinnacles are located in the Coromandel region on New Zealand’s North Island and climbing to the top is often included in “must do” lists for resident kiwis. Like the Mueller Hut Hike, a serviced Hut near the top of the walk makes it perfect for families and first time adventurers. Continue reading
As a child I remember reading the Wind on Fire ‘trilogy’ and being fascinated by the concept of large vessels sailing across the land. Now it is a reality (albeit a much smaller craft). One man buggies, complete with a single sail race around a set course harnessing the wind power to pick up (what felt like) an incredible pace.