Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Rotorua and volcanoes...

Had a great a weekend up in Rotorua though we weren't in fact there for very long. Headed off from Wellington in the rain on Fri evening after work. It's a fair old distance to Rotorua so we spent Fri night in Taihape and then carried on to Rotorua on Sat morning arriving there at 1:30. To get from Taihape you need to go across the Desert Road which is about 1000m elevation. On a clear day you get a fantastic view of Ruapehu... or so I've been told! That was my 4th drive (2 return journeys) across that road and I've yet to see it. I did get the following
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We were staying in the Princes Gate Hotel which advertises itself as New Zealand's oldest Boutique Hotel. Nice place... definitely old decor but it all seemed to work. The room surprisingly was not freezing cold unlike the night before. In fact, it was decidedly warm and I still haven't quite figured out how that was because even though there was a radiator in the room (I'm shocked at that) it wasn't on. But needless to say I'm not complaining :) After arrival headed off to The Polynesian Spa for a dip in The Lake Spa. It was fab... 4 outdoor pools varying in temperature from 36 degrees C to 42 degrees C. We probably spent about an hour moving between the 4 different pools... it was gorgeous. Weirdly my skin was all tingly at the end of it all but I guess that was due to either the heat and/or the minerals in the water. Needless to say I was wonderfully sleepy all that so I headed back to the hotel for a wee rest :)

I did manage a short walk down to the lake front of Lake Rotorua for sunset. There was an amazing red sky but unfortunately I had real trouble trying to get a decent picture... too many things in the way.
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On Sunday headed back to The Polynesian Spa (it's tough I know but somebody had to do it) after a v disappointing hotel breakfast. We were booked in for 1 hour treatments but your treatment involves you turning up an hour in advance to use the pools (and you can also use them again after if you want). Unlike Saturday it was actually beautifully sunny on Sunday so sitting in the warm water with the sun shining on my face was just bliss! I definitely recommend it :) And all that was followed by a one hour massage... I was a happy indeed!

We'd been thinking of a number of different options for the drive back on Sunday but in the end went with a visit to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. Personally I think the name of the place is a bit silly but my God it's a fantastic place to visit!! It just reinforced just how much the earth is a weird and dangerous thing... not to mention smelly (that's the sulphur)! This is a thermal area that has the largest area of surface thermal activity of any hydrothermal system in the Taupo volcanic zone. You have to stick to the paths/walkways as you go around as the place is covered with collapsed craters, boiling pools of mud, water and steaming fumaroles. Pretty wacky and the colours because of the minerals... fab!
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After that we got back in to the car and started on the long drive back to Wellington. As we drove through Taupo we noticed however that it looked as though it was going to be a lovely sunset... and luckily we made it in time to pull in at edge of Lake Taupo to get some photos of a beautiful sky!
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And then it really was back in the car for the drive back to Wellington. In the rain. And as we arrived in to Wellington it really rained! Ah yes... wet and windy Wellington :)

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

beutiful pictures. Looks like you had a great time - hope you enjoyed melbourne. My Brother is heading over your way next week, Monday the 19th for a month to stay with my dad, scary having so many people i know there just now.