FALLS, MUD POOLS & LUGE
When our time in New Zealand was almost at an end, our friends suggested that we visit Rotorua with them over a weekend.
MORE ABOUT ROTORUA:
Rotorua is about 230km from Auckland and is a major destination for both domestic and international tourists. It is known for its geothermal activity, and features geysers, bubbling hot mud pools and thermal springs … and for a smell similar to “rotten eggs” (due to the hydrogen sulphide emissions).
We booked the Saturday night into a hotel in the center of Rotorua and only had time (and money) to visit a couple of places. It is quite expensive to participate in the activities in Rotorua … you realise quickly that this is tourist paradise.
Our first stop was at the Huka Falls, which are a set of waterfalls on the Waikato River that drains Lake Taupo.
Upstream from the Huka Falls, the Waikato River narrows into a canyon
There was a jet boat with passengers on the river performing all kinds of tricks – apparently it is half an hour of thrills, fun and excitement … we decided not to buy tickets as it was already late afternoon and just way too cold!
A jet boat at the foot of the Huka Falls
On the foot bridge at the top of the falls
NATURAL THERMAL POOLS:
There are spa’s and wellness centers close to Rotorua with beautiful, sparkling thermal pools (which cost a pretty penny) and then there are natural thermal pools in nature one can visit (which is free). We visited one of these natural thermal pools and found it to be quite popular … although it was cold, there were a lot of people enjoying the pools.
The hot geothermal waters were hailed for their healing properties and as cures for ailments such as arthritis and rheumatism
Some people were sitting inside the thermal pools, while others just had their feet in the hot water
No bathing costumes, but we did put our feet in the water … and it was really nice
VISIT TO REDWOODS TREEWALK … and no photo’s:
Of our next excursion, I have no photo’s … we’ve visited he Redwoods Treewalk in Rotorua … with a staggering 23 suspension bridges!!! Now, you remember my fear of heights and motion sickness …?
So, the only 2 things I can say about this:
- I’m glad it was during the evening and therefore dark!
- The 115-year-old redwood trees are stunning … but hey, one can also see them very clearly from the ground!
Go and have a look at www.treewalk.co.nz … there are beautiful photo’s …
WAI-O-TAPU THERMAL WONDERLAND:
The next day, we headed out to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. It is just a short drive from Rotorua and an area in which the landscape has been sculptured by geothermal activity and where unique features can be viewed from good designed tracks.
But first, we had to watch the performance of the well-known Lady Knox – this geyser is induced to erupt daily at around 10:00 by dropping some “powder” into the opening of the vent.
We are waiting for Lady Knox to start with her “performance” …
Lady Knox geyser – named after Lady Constance Knox, the 2nd daughter of Uchter Knox, 15th Governor of New Zealand
At first, the eruption was not that spectacular … only a little bit of steam came out and we thought that was it …
Lady Knox start to erupt after being induced
But then, after a while, a powerful eruption took place … and we all got soaking wet!
Now … that’s a proper eruption!
Yes, maybe Lady Knox is a bit “man-made” and artificial (however, I’m not sure I want to be close by when the real thing happens), but it was nonetheless special to see.
After our visit to Lady Knox, we went for a walk over to the ever active “mud pools” in Wai-O-Tapu.
Steam rising from the thermal waters in Wai-O-Tapu
We took the self-guided walk – the tracks are well laid out – to see the bubbling mud. There is a wide range of amazing thermal areas to see, which was great.
On tour through Wai-O-Tapu
Do not fall over your feet here …
We enjoyed this day with our friends
This is a steamy affair …
It was quite hot – we could almost take off our jackets!
It was amazing to see so many colours in one area! Although the smell was at times overwhelming (that “rotten-egg” smell), it was a beautiful walk and wonderful to see all these things we never experienced before.
Colorful and beautiful shaped rock formations
The lime-green lake at the end of our walk
More beautiful colours in Wai-O-Tapu
The end of the pathway
As we left Wai-O-Tapu, we saw a road turning off to more bubbling mud pools. This time, there was no entrance fee and we took a walk to see more of these pools.
Mud pools outside Wai-O-Tapu
We were now on our way back home. But first our friends insisted we need to visit the Rotorua Luge (Skyline Rotorua). This is an adventure center with a gondola, luge tracks, a high-adrenaline swing and zip-line … and yes, for sure height was involved again.
We took the gondola up to the top of the mountain … with my eyes shut until half-way up, I slowly opened them to see the beautiful panoramic view of Rotorua.
In the gondola – on our way to the top of the mountain
We bought three passes each to take the luge down the mountain. Berto, Werner and Pearl went like real racing car drivers down the mountain, but I was more like “Driving Miss Daisy”. Under normal circumstances I’m a very responsible driver (and now I also realised I’m no Formula One racing driver)!
On the luge down the mountain!!
When I got to the finishing line and realised how I have to get back to the top of the mountain, I decided my luge adventure was over!
Back up with these open swings … NOT A ‘FRICKEN’ CHANCE!
The “back-up team” arrived and one of the drivers came and fetch me with his 4×4 and took me all the way back up the mountain – now, that was quite fun!
After all the adventures, we sat on the terrace and looked over Rotorua – although my fear of heights were tested properly over the weekend, it was quite an enjoyable outing.
After a few glasses of wine, the trip down the mountain in the gondola was much better and I actually enjoyed the view.
The luge track with Rotorua in the background
We arrived back in Gulf Harbour late that Sunday evening after a jam-packed weekend filled with new experiences and lovely memories!
6 thoughts on “NEW ZEALAND (13)”
Hoe verlang ek nou na New Zealand! Was ook op al die plekke en het ook die luge ding gedoen! Was so lekker!
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Wonderlik! So, ek’s seker jy het heelwat van die tonele hier herken! Ek’s so ‘n ou bangbroek, die luge het my maag in my keel gehad 🙂.
😀Ek was gek daaroor
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This is so beautiful 💕🌸 I will most probably also close my eyes like you’ve explained your adventure with the gondola, the high-adrenaline swing and zip-line, oh my! I’m happy to read about it , thank you for sharing. Another thing we have in common Corna, is my fear for heights and I suffer motion sickness too. I know it’s a mind thing but it’s also very real even at the age of 50 years young 😅
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Those sweaty hands and beating heart … I always tell Berto to have a fear of heights is exhausting 😄. I definitely prefer my feet on (steady) ground! Our friends agreed once that it’s great to have me in the group, because while they do all the adrenaline stuff, I’m there to take photos of everyone!
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