January 25, 2009

Taupo: Part Two

Awake bright and early we made the most of the sunshine and threw some bacon on the BBQ, we sat down and enjoyed a lovely full breakfast before getting ready and heading out for the day.

First stop of the day was Wai-O-Tapu which translated means ‘sacred waters’. This was somewhere we have wanted to visit for years. Even before we made our move to NZ we watched Billy Connolly and his World Tour Of New Zealand, here he travels the length of NZ stopping off at places of interest, one of them is Wai-O-Tapu. It is literally as their website says – ‘A Wonderland of Stunning Geothermal Activity’.

So we had the most amazing stroll around. Everything, every moment, every step brought something new and literally jaw dropping to look at. Watching the steam rise, the geysers bubbling, the mud popping and enjoying the smell too that each one brought. Anyway, view the photos, they say it all in the most magical magnificent colour ever!

After a picnic, we moved onto our next destination for the day – Orakei Korako. Described as the ‘Hidden Valley’ and we were not disappointed. Hopping aboard a boat we were taken across the Waikato River where we were dropped off map in hand and a wonderland to explore ahead of us. This was a very unique experience, being dropped off by boat made you feel isolated, like some type of Jurassic island…very exciting!!

We again viewed more stunning pools of wonder, bubbling mud holes, touched boiling water (yeah won’t do that again!) and had the most stunning walk through the track that led you through a beautiful forest track. The whole experience was totally mind blowing that such an area is possible, totally amazing.

Feeling a little weary we decided that there would be nothing better now than a relaxing dip in a thermal pool. So we headed for DeBretts which was 2 minutes from our motel. It’s a gorgeous holiday resort that caters for visitors with a motel, chalets and camping grounds, all set against the magnificent bush. Even better all of the pools are supplied with actual mineral water that has poured from the ground!

So we rang and booked a private pool. On arrival we informed the lady at reception we had called and booked and instead of paying the standard $18 per person for the private pools, we paid only $10 (and $2 for Bethany!). Awesome!! So if you go, make sure you call in advance!!!

After a lovely half and hour of splishing around in the beautiful water we headed back to the motel, but not before stopping off to order an Indian meal!!

Again the next morning arrived early courtesy of an excited Bethany. We packed up and headed out. We stayed local this time and spent some time walking along the stunning waterfront of Taupo. The view over the lake towards the snow capped peaks of Mount Ruapehu was just breath taking.

We headed for the mini golf course and had such a laugh putting our skills (or my lack of them!) to the 18 hole course. The sun was beating down and by 11am it was blistering hot. We took a wander back and a quick break to somewhere we would not normally chose on holiday – but we ended up in McDonald’s!!!

Why McDonald’s? Well view the below photo!! They have a real plane built into the side of the ‘restaurant’. You could go up the steps into it where they had tables and chairs and you could view the cock-pit!! Bethany spotted that plane the day we arrived, and of course we were as intrigued as she was!!

Home time and back on the road we scanned the map, so many things we had missed but it didn’t really matter. We had seen some of the most amazing things. Lynn enjoyed every second and it was so lovely to show off what NZ is really all about. It was lovely wandering round seeing all the tourists, those speaking different languages, even in a different language you could hear the excitement in their voices. For the first time in ages we were also ‘tourists’!

We had a brilliant few days, we collected a happy Denver who had also had an amazing time and headed home, full of the most lovely stories of what we had just seen.

To see the last installment of exciting photos click here.

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