Saturday, 4 February 2012
New Zealand Day Nine – Taupo
As it was still raining this morning in National Park we decided not to hang around but drive to Taupo straight after breakfast. The mountain was still hidden under thick clouds as we took the desert road to Lake Taupo. The desert was not how I imagined it. Dark black earth and stones were sparsely covered with scrub. My sister assured me the mountain was just to our left but I had to take her word for it.
As we neared Taupo the rain cleared and the sky brightened. By the time we reached Craters of the Moon the sun was starting to burn through the clouds and walking round was very enjoyable. It was amazing to see steam rising from holes in the earth’s crust, so near to the surface. In some craters we could hear and see water or mud bubbling and smell the slightly smoky sulphur air, very similar to Ngawha Springs. The surrounding rock was made up of so many different shades of colour reflecting the variety of minerals that made up each strata. And the surface landscape varied from heather and low growing manuka bushes to a forest of trees; a great place to walk around and feel the pockets of heat from the steam.
From there we went to Huker Falls, which were not like the other Falls we’d visited. The drop was quite small but the volume of clear, almost blue water that fed into the pool was immense. The speed and intensity of movement was mesmerising to watch. At times the water appeared to flow both ways. The gradual slope of the river bed down to the Falls added to the pressure and the booming noise of the impact.
We had a picnic lunch nearby and then checked into our motel. The afternoon was spent relaxing in the spa pool and after dinner we went for a walk along the lake.