Hot water, mudpools and a parrot: trip to Rotorua part 1

This past weekend, we headed north to Rotorua to visit friends and at last see something more of this beautiful country.  We flew up on Friday after work, and had the novel-for-us Europeans experience of not going through any security (other than having our tickets checked) before boarding the plane.  So much nicer, so much less bother.

Anyway, we arrived there to lovely warm weather, and headed straight to a local pub for some of the local Croucher’s beer and some food (confession – fish and chips again – this is becoming a serious habit!).  After a rather late night, we awoke to a lovely sunny and warm day.  Our friends live about 30km south of Rotorua in a lovely spot pretty much in the middle of nowhere.

IMG_1141View to the hills

IMG_1142

A warm welcome

We started the day with a trip to Waikite Valley Hotpools, lying in pools of various temperatures and enjoying the sunshine.  This is a really nice place, designed primarily for locals, but obviously attracting tourists as well.  There are no fancy facilities, but just a nice place to go, relax and enjoy the scenery and water.  There was also a nice little walk where you could see the steaming water that supplies the complex.

Following this, we drove to Waiotapu mud pools. There are lots of places in the area where you can go and see geothermal activity like this, but this one is free to go and wander about in.  Watching the mud bubbling up can be quite mesmeric…

IMG_1147Bubble, bubble

IMG_1148Mud and steam

IMG_1149More mud and steam

From there we headed to Lake Taupo, the largest lake in New Zealand with a surface area of 616 square kilometers.  In the distance, we could just see smoke rising from Mount Tongariro, which last erupted in 2012.

IMG_1154

Lake Taupo with Mount Tongariro in the background

We sat for ages by the lake, enjoying the sun with a cold beer, before heading back to Rotorua.  In part 2, I will explain about the parrot…

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