February 08, 2019
Friday 8th February
On the road. Lake Taupo NZ north island.
I have the luxury of writing this whilst being driven along State Highway 1 down towards Wellington. Michelle is driving and Trina is the naviguesser so this is my first stint in the back seat. Noisy and bumpy- so if you see a typo again I can blame the bumps combined with my fat fingers!
Yesterday was another rather exciting day. We visited the town of Rotorua, famous for its geysers. Not geezers, no. Geysers. We arrived in the town having done lots of research but totally missed the two most important areas. Hence we spent a couple of hours marvelling at the small geysers bubbling away in the gardens of Kuirau Park whilst all the proper bubbling and spurting was happening behind us!. Well 20 miles behind us. To be fair the garden geysers were pretty good but…. eventually at 4.30 pm we arrived at the fantabulous Wai O Tapu Thermal Wonderland. And it was indeed. There are several km of land with big bubbling ponds with the acrid smell of sulphur and other chemicals bubbling away at up to 100 degrees. Poo stinky! But the highlight was a large multicolour pond called the Artist Pallette. (Photo attached). Crackin’ view. We stood there for a long time as the sun came and went and we took numerous photos all entirely different variations of blue, yellow, orange, green, turquoise, aquamarine, lilac, magenta, cyan, scarlet, metallic blue (really..?)…. and probably a couple more. Add to this the steam rising and moving above it and it was terrific. Gives a real understanding of the design of this planet. We missed the big high geyser blowing off nearby as it has the early shift and erupts daily at 10.30am. Weird.
Defo worth a visit at NZ$35 each (£18).
We then remounted Maureen the Maui Mercedes Motorhome with Michelle Motoring Magnificently on Motorway (enough now!). We selected a campsite alongside Lake Taupo as it was approaching 7pm and we were only basically overnight parking so grabbed a free camping park right alongside the Highway and the lake. Trouble is, so did about 80 other motorhomers. It’s a huge site so space was not a problem but we had to park on the gravel to enjoy a decent view of this massive lake. It was surprisingly cold, in fact had not been over 18 degrees all day. (Except when standing too close to the bubbling ponds!
What is the collective term for a group of motorhomes??
So…this morning, back on the road after a quick breakfast. 12 degrees and marginal sun… not sure I want to head further south. Brrrr..
Thankfully by midday the sun has arrived and shared 24 degrees. It was a great run through some great scenic areas. Plains, mountains, lakes and huge land train trucks kept us entertained. As the ‘A’ team were up ahead keeping Maureen on track I went to the lounge area and made ham and tomato sandwiches whilst on the move. Damn dangerous I know but I like to live life on the edge.! Mind you there was a right mess all over the back of Maureen by the time I finished. …
After a short break it was back on the road.
I am finishing this bit whilst on the train from Wellington back to our campsite so continuity is disjointed.
We had a bit of mileage to get in as we need to be catching the midday ferry from Wellington to Picton on Saturday. Once again great roads which were very quiet until we reached the chaos of Wellington where it felt like being at home. As I wanna driving this bit it was good to be able to get my elbows out and compete just like home..!
We found a campsite just outside of Wellington at $8 each. Much more space with grass and everything..! It was also handy as it was close to a railway station so we quickly found a train direct into the city centre and harbour area. Public transport here is soooo much better than home. Very punctual, clean, new, facilities for elderly, kids, bikes, disabled, cattle (not true!).
Soo… a few hours in Wellington meant a couple of drinks, or so..at the Harbourside bar on the …erm..harbour side….. Amazing. They provide complimentary lamb sandwiches for customers and the use of trendy NZ sun hats. It was sunny but rather windy. Trina’s Eyewitness Travel book confirms this is a regular feature. ‘‘Twas a fun couple of hours followed by a treat of a Wagamama supper to finish our Friday night in the north island. Approaching 10pm now and pitch black. Hope Maureen the Maui Mercedes Motorhome is still intact when we get back. .!
Did you know…The kiwi bird is on the endangered species list. Their nostrils are at the pointy end of their beaks causing them to snuffle when feeding..
Michelle says they eat kiwi fruit..but then she has been drinking..!