For three weeks, we’re traveling the country of New Zealand (#WatsonsdriveNZ) and blogging our way through it. Follow along + catch up by reading Part One and Part Two and Part Three and Part Four and Part Five.
We had seen Rotorua in the daylight for a couple of hours the night before and on the morning of our 6th day in NZ, we planned to see the last bit in the morning light. After breakfast at Picnic Cafe (which was very good by the way – a bit overpriced) we went to Waiotapu (“Geothermal Wonderland”) as it came highly recommended as a place to see. (Side note: I couldn’t stop thinking about John Mayer’s song Your Body is a Wonderland as Your Body is a Geothermal Wonderlaaaaand – because really, where else do you hear the word Wonderland?)
The active geyser at Waiotapu erupts every day at 10:15am, or so we thought. We were determined to beat the buses upon buses of tourists that descend upon an area with their loud voices, their sun visors, their point and shoots and their maps. Randy and I were at Waiotapu before opening to buy our tickets, grab a tea and walk 30 minutes throughout the park. (There were also 60 and 75 minute walks you could do!) It was a pretty neat place. I’m not usually into “pay to see this” kind of tourism but I enjoyed it. A lot of crazy coloured water (due to the minerals present) and not the kind of sights you can see every day.
The park staff recommended you take your car and drive to another parking lot near the geyser – be there no later than 10am sharp! 10:15am it erupts! We (once again – committed to beating these tourists) had our seats near the geyser at 9:45am. It filled up over the next 30 minutes and you could see everyone looking at their watches as 10:15am approached. “How does it erupt every day at the same time?” “Yeah that is pretty crazy. I don’t know.” Randy and I bantered back and forth, but I don’t know, call us TRUSTING but when somebody says it ERUPTS EVERY DAY at 10:15am I’m gonna believe it erupts every day at 10:15am.
10:15am turned into 10:18am and then a park staff person came out with his microphone to explain some history of the geyser. A long time ago, prisoners were in charge of clearing the land around this park – they went to wash their clothes in the hot water near the geyser and dropped their soap into the hole. Within a couple minutes, the geyser started exploding and shooting water everywhere! Now, he explained, we don’t use soap, we use these chemically engineered crystals that don’t ruin our environment. He proceeds to dump a bag of stuff into the geyser and says “Thank you for coming” and walks away. Within a few minutes, the geyser exploded! It was pretty sweet, not gonna lie, so it’s worth seeing – but really, DON’T LIE TO YOUR TOURISTS. On behalf of all of us, thank you in advance. ;)
From Waiotapu, we drove onto Lake Taupo, a pretty area only about 45 minutes past. We stopped just outside of town to see Huka Walls, a pretty crazy powerful waterfall… gorgeous water!
We grabbed lunch (after a very long debate, drive, walk, blood sugar crash, JUST TAKE ME TO THE STORE TO BUY GRANOLA NOW RANDY, going to the store to buy granola, walking more, driving more, looking at six menus) at Lakehouse Brewery and checked into our bed and breakfast: Amori Lodge. It was a gorgeous day (25-27 degrees celsius) so we suited up and went to the beach to hang out, swim a little bit and tan. Taupo is a beautiful area, one that reminded us a lot of Kelowna, BC. For dinner, we ate at Plateau Restaurant, also very good and walked along the beach as the sunset to end our night.
A few iPhone photos of our time in Taupo! 1) Our B+B, 2) A quiet lakefront we found away from the town 3) Us. Self-explanatory.