Bubbling Away...

Trip Start Jun 15, 2004
Trip End Jun 15, 2005

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Sunday, January 30, 2005

Sunday 30th January 205
Drive to Rotorua today - pass some more pretty bays (New Zealand is full of beautiful scenery, everywhere you go). My guidebook was not joking - you really can smell the city before you arrive - it smells of rotten eggs, due to all the sulphur in the air, and its quite overpowering - apparently you get used to it after 3-4 hours.

Walk through a local park, where there are hissing steaming holes all over the place, and bubbling water - very weird, and still, very smelly. Its very much hotter as well - there is no breeze like on the coast.

Monday 31st January 2005
Got up early today - showered and out by 8am, to get to Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal park - and miss the crowds, which was well worth it.

Amazing park, full of springs, mud pools and mineral encrusted lakes, which makes for an eerie landscape at times, with amzing colours and steam billowing out from everywhere, and liquid mud being spurted at one hole.

At 10.15am, get to Lady Knox Geyser, which is induced to perform at this time everyday - by an attendant placing some soap powder into it, which breaks the water surface tension - 2 minutes later, a 10 metre high gush of water shoots out - amazing to look out, and continues on at 5 metres for quite a while.

Onto the "Agrodome" - Rotorua's answer to Queenstown claim to be the adrenalin capital of NZ.

Its now official - I can fly - I have wanted to try one of those jet powered air machines, where the air pushes you skyward, for ages - and now I've done it - though I have to admit, this flying thing is harder than it looks - excellent fun though - just need a few more hours practice, and I will be well away.

Onto the jetboat - tiny, but highpowered jet boat, where you drive round a circuit, full of twists and turns - amazing speed, and turns - hundred times more fun than the boat the other day.

Finally, return to camp, have a rest in the hot water mineral pool, then a swim in the swimming pool, and relax...lifes hard

Monday 1st February 2005
Its February - where has the time gone.....I've done 7 and a half months!

Drove to Taupo this morning, and, its raining, so am at a loss as to what to do in this small town, so find my campsite, find a pub, and read my book!

Tuesday 2nd February 2005
Went to the "Craters of The Moon" outside Taupo this morning, but have clearly seen enough thermal sites, venting everywhere, by now, as whilst it was pretty, you can only see so many of them.

Onto Aritatatia rapids, delivered on cue at 12.00pm by the dam upstream being released, and pretty amazing to see a little tricle of water through a deep riverbed, turn into a torrent and huge rapids.

What was truly impressive however, was the Huka Falls a little upstream, and before the dam - the water only drops about 10 meters, but is has to come through a channel about 100 metres in length, which compacts it, and adds power (you dont want to fall in), so that a huge volume of water (400 hundred tonnes per second...I counted) cascades over - all bright blue crystal clear water as well.

Then it rained...again

Wednesday 3rd February 2005
After a slightly rainy night (I discovered my tent came with an indoor swimming pool at one end), drove to Turangi, not before stopping off at Lake Taupo, in the brilliant sunshine, to dry off my sleeping bag and tent, and to have a swim in the crystal clear waters - and the water wasnt even cold! - Only downside was the lake bed was very, very rocky - volcanic rock.

Realising that South America is getting closer now, so, as part of my preparation, I'm reading an excellent book - its called "Death In Brazil"..........

Purpose of visiting Turangi is to walk the Tongarriro Crossing, a 17km walk across the volcanic mountains, next to a mountain also known as Mount Doom to you Lord Of the Ring fans (Thats Max happy!)

Thursday 4th 2005
Get up at 6.30am, to get the 7.00am pick up to take me to the start of the walking track...7.15, nobody turns up, 7.30 still nobody, 7.45 nobody - at which point I start on a fruitless search to find the towns only phonebox.

Eventually ring them at 8.00am from the now open campsite office -

Excuse No 1 - We rang your campsite and they told us they had no bookings...err, I didnt book it through the campsite, just arranged pick up here

Excuse No 2 - The driver was there at 7.25am - you werent....err I was there and not a single vehichle entered the site!

Eventually I got them to admit they just plain forgot me - why they couldnt have said that in the first place I dont know!!

Get to start the walk - almost two hours later than the majority of people, at 900m, with the walk them climbing to a peak of 1886m, and then down to 600m the other side, spread over 17km. The walk at times was quite gruelling, but overall not to bad, and with spectacular views - Mount Doom (aka Mt Ruapheu) in the background at the beginning, then yellow volcanic planes, red craters, and then, most spectacular of all, The "emerald lakes" - a series of lakes formed in volcanic cones, with now turqoise water in them, and looking down on a succession of them from a height was amazing.

Was happy that I also did the "6-7" hour walk in 5hr 45 min - good practice for Machu Pichu (except its, er, 3 times the distance and twice the height).

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