Posted by: dammer145 | October 29, 2008

The road to Taupo

We got up, had breakfast and left rather late from the camping. I was still a bit upset about not having been able to find the Southern Cross the night before – but I would not give up until I had succeeded!

The camping we were staying at was not far from a volcano, mount Tarawera, that had erupted 120 years ago. We drove up hoping to be able to get a bit closer to have a look. On our way up we passed the “Buried Village”, a settlement that had been covered in ash and lava when the volcano had erupted. We pressed upwards, though unfortunately the volcano proved to be on the other side of a lake (Lake Tarawera would you believe), so we were not able to get very close to it. We did however get some lovely views of the surrounding area along with some nice camera shots. We even saw a group of schoolchildren arrive in a waka (a Maori war canoe), which obviously was part of a school outing. We hung around for a while, then set off southwards.

Waka Waka Waka!

Along the road between Rotorua and Taupo, we stopped at another geothermal site called Wai-o-tapu (“Holy Waters” in Maori). We paid our entrance fee and followed the path round the site – a 3 km long walk that took us along all kinds of exotic geothermal structures, ranging from black mud pools called the Devils Ink Pots to bubbling pools of boiling water with orange, yellow, green and pink colours mixed all together.

The Champagne Pool.

The most impressive of all was called the Champagne Pool, where thousands of little carbon dioxide bubbles came to the surface amidst a large orange crust on the edge of the pool. There is also a geyser there called Lady Knox, which spouts up to 10 metres high every morning at exactly 10:15, but we didn’t make it on time to see that. It is hard to describe the sights of the site – once we get round to sending some pictures I’m sure they will speak for themselves. Once we had finished the walk we had a pie each – Kiwis sure do know how to make a decent chicken or veggie pie.

We carried on our journey towards Taupo and arrived there at about 6 o’clock. We first hit the tourist information office, as I wanted to go fishing and Anouk wanted to do the river jets (more on that later). We found some brochures and passed by the supermarket to buy ourselves some dinner.

The camping for the night was about five minutes outside of Taupo and proved to be a lovely, albeit big and professional, place. I gave the guy from the fishing brochure a call and arranged that he would come and pick us up from the camping the next morning at 6am (fish bite better in the morning). As we had to be up rather early we decided we would head into town for a bite to eat and keep our earlier purchases for another day.

Driving around we passed a place called “Burger Fuel” – it was right between McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut and Burger King, so Anouk had a hard time choosing. I convinced her to try something new (although still burgers) and so we entered Burger Fuel, expecting a new world to open for us. Burger Fuel had about 30 different burgers to choose from, with exotic names such as Flame Thrower, Brie Injection, Burnout and last but not least, Bastard. New Zealand has a special type of potato, called the kumara, which is somewhat sweet in taste.

Fuel for the Human Engine!

Burger Fuel made fries out of these so we ordered those, along with complementary aioli sauce. They also had a rather ingenious system for holding ones burger – a cardboard construction called a doofer which made holding the sloppy construction somewhat easier and less messy. One thing though – Kiwis are a messy lot; they leave behind all their mess and expect others to clean up after them… and not only in fast food restaurants.

Full of burger and fries we headed back and went to sleep.


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