Wednesday, September 30, 2015

New Zealand: Lake Taupo

We took some time to enjoy a fire and warm drinks while we planned the last few days of our trip.  Our reception was poor, so I had to do most of the navigating by cross referencing our Navigator to a good old fashioned map.

Lake Taupo was beautiful.  So still and peaceful.  The water was extremely clear.  You can see the bottom!

Giant pumice rocks were floating along the edge of the lake.

We had hoped to go see Mount Doom, but the weather wasn't cooperating, so we headed to the Wairakei Terraces Thermal Pools instead.  Basically, there is a geyser with boiling hot water that runs out of it, and these people built a pool mixing that water with a cold springs, but it's still super hot.  The highest pool up is the hottest and they get "cooler" as you work your way down.  

I finally got to swim in a hot water fall!

If you find yourself in Taupo, try to visit this hot springs.  It was amazing, and my skin felt so smooth afterward.  Hot mineral baths are fantastic!

New Zealand: Rotorua

We did so much in New Zealand that I feel like every day or two deserves it's own post.  That's why it's taken me forever to get it all sorted.  But, Rotorua, here we go.  First off, it smelt like sulphur.  And our hotel was totally ghetto.  The automatic doors didn't work, so we had to manually slide them.  Then the wifi was out on our side of the hotel and Porter had to do work, so we had to change rooms and were down graded.  The new room, the heater didn't work and it didn't have any windows.  The previous room had a big window looking over the geysers, which was the whole reason we stayed there.  But we pushed forward.  

This is Porter's war face. 

We had heard that the hot spots in New Zealand were pretty epic.  Coming from the western United States we are spoiled in that Yellowstone National Park was only a 4 hour drive from us.  Porter's family used to have a cabin up there.  So we've seen hot pots before.  However, I'm so glad we went.  Hell's Gate was other worldly.

 I felt like we were walking through Mordor.  It was said that the Maori people help these places as sacred.  I can see why.  They were stunning.

The thing that set it apart from Yellowstone is the lack of safety precautions.  Basically there is a little path and they tell you to stay on it.  At Yellowstone there are serious walk ways and ropes and "Do Not Enter" signs.  It was fun to get really close to super hot, bubbly geysers!

 We found the largest hot waterfall in the Southern Hemisphere.  And I made Porter take a smoochy selfie with me.  The water was the perfect temperature to go swimming.  It was all I could do to keep myself from jumping in.

This was the Medicine Lake.  The Mud here was awesome.  It was super fine and squishy.  They said it was good to put on your skin.

We finished out the night at a Maori Experience Event.  The dinner wasn't that great, but the entertainment was fun.  My favorite part was the Haka.

Also, we had to choose a chief to make peace with the other tribe's chief.  And we also had to choose someone to sing a song of our tribe.  I volun-told Porter to.  Haha!  He got up and sang Hakuna Matata.  We thought it was a good peace song.  Everyone seemed to like it.