Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Lake Taupo, Haka Falls and Wai-o-Tapu

We arrived at the Lake Taupo Hilton in the mid-afternoon and found that we had been upgraded to a suite and that a bottle of Prosecco was waiting in the room.

The Lake Taupo Hilton is a wonderful hotel with great facilities, lovely staff and stunning views over Lake Taupo, perfect for enjoying from our balcony.

After a few hours relaxing in our room and enjoying some Prosecco on the balcony we dressed for dinner and went down to the Lago Bistro attached to the hotel. We shared a flatbread with truffle cheese, then it was on to the mains. I had a mushroom medley salad cheesey mashed potatoes while Victoria had the vegetarian risotto.  We finished by sharing a creme brule. I was pretty shocked when I got the bill, only NZD120.00 with a couple of drinks, about £60.00.

Stuffed and tired, we crashed back to the room and managed another glass of Prosecco before hitting the sack about 10:30. I woke quite early and we got changed into our gym kit and were on the cross-trainers before 08:00. This was followed by a stint in the steam room, the sauna and the outdoor spa pool, a lovely 37C in the pouring rain.

We went back up to the room and got showered and dressed before chilling some more, I called Mountain Air to see if we could charter the Three Mountains flight but they said the weather conditions were too poor to fly. Finally, we got going and were down to Lago Bistro after 10:00 for a lovely continental breakfast, lots of fresh fruit for me, of course with pancakes and toast too! While we ate the weather cleared a bit and a beautiful rainbow formed over Lake Taupo.

We enjoyed our final hour in the room, polishing offthe last of the prosecco on the balcony and making another call to Mountain Air, still not fit to fly - bugger, our first failure of the trip so far.

Checking out of the Hilton,  we stopped for fuel and then drove the short distance to Haka Falls. These are a spectacular sight, this river is the only outflow from Lake Taupo and the falls pass 200 tons of water every second. This is a must-see nature at its most powerful location.

We stopped at the shop to pick up a postcard and the drove the short distance up the road to the Huka Honey Hive where Victoria picked up some local honey to take home with us.

Back in to the car and it is 50KM down the road to the Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland. This is a volcanic adventure, the first thing that hits you is the sulphurous stink of the area but the features are fantastic with volcanic craters, steaming ground, bubbling mud pools and the huge Champagne Pool that is a steamy 74C.

While walking through the forest we heard an enormous creaking and a huge tree crashed down on to the pathway where we had been stood seconds earlier, Crikey!

We took loads of photos here and the camera battery was almost flat by the time we got to the Devils Bath.The camera really does not capture the livid lime green of this pool.

We jumped into the car and completed our journey into Rotarua where we are staying for a couple of nights at the Arista. We popped to the supermarket for supplies and had a simple supper before crashing out for the evening. All this exploring is exhausting.

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