Long Weekend in Kiwiland Pt IV: Volcanos

Pt I: Prologue
Pt II: Long Haul LCC
Pt III: Rotten Eggs
Pt IV: Volcanos
Pt V: Animals & Auckland
Pt VI: 3K 402
Pt VII: Epilogue

Only found out the following morning that there were three Macs near the reception where guests could use to surf net.

Well better late than never.

After a breakfast of cup noodles and hot tea, we headed to the our first destination of the day: Wai-o-tapu Geothermal Wonderland.

It was around 30 minutes drive out of Rotorua and we were there by 9.15am.

Since we were too early for the ‘performance’ at Lady Knox’s Geyser, we got to walk inside the the park for a while.

Smell of sulphur unmistakeable

Steaming hot

The Kiwis are definitely imaginative in naming these geothermal sights.

Not where I'll like to visit

Devils' Ink Pot

One of the things that I liked most about NZ’s attractions was that they were well sign-posted and provided useful information for visitors.

Artist's Palette

Kinda Middle Earthy?

More sights from the park:

Opal Pool

Inferno Crater

Fancy bathing with Devil?

It was time to take a short 5 min drive on Elfie to see Lady Knox Geyser.

Look at that!

Lady Knox

The host did a pretty good job explaining the history of the geyser to the 200+ visitors of the day before pouring the surfactant into the opening.

I was impressed with the height that the water could reach.

BOOOOMZ

Went on for minutes

As the fury of the lady began to wane, we made our way back to Wai-o-tapu to see the rest of its sights.

Back in Wai-o-tapu

Frying Pan Flat

Oyster Pool

The weather wasn’t perfect as it alternated between rain and sunshine.

By the time we were done with Wai-o-tapu, it was lunch time and we filled our hungry stomachs with the muffins and biscuits bought the day before.

The next destination Waimangu Volcanic Valley was a 15 min drive away and it was raining rather heavily when we arrived at the visitor centre.

Armed with a map and umbrellas we ventured down the trail towards Lake Rotohamana.

The whole hike would take around an hour and there were three bus stops along the way where the shuttle bus would pick up visitors at regular intervals.

Raining when we visited

Probably the best sight was at Echo Crater.

I can't explain it but the waves looked strange

Kinda out of the world

As at Wai-o-tapu, the weather alternated between rain and sunshine until it decided to remain rainy.

Pretty flowers along the way

At one part of the trail we were actually right beside the stream and river so we decided to test the temperature.

Hot water stream

The water was actually quite warm and I reckoned the temperature to be at least 50 degree Celsius.

Down the trail there was a mini geyser as well.

Mini geyser

The walk wasn’t particularly strenuous but the rain didn’t make our progress easy.

There was a stretch which was rather muddy and we spent a great of time trying to navigate the path.

Finally at the end of the path we reached the lake which was also the site of the third bus stop.

Lake Rotohamana

The shuttle bus timings coincided with the arrivals of the visitors on the boat trip round the lake and we had to wait a while before the bus moved off for the visitor centre at the scheduled time.

On our way back to Rotorua, we stopped to take this picture:

Absolutely NZ

Next up was the re-visit of Rainbow Springs which was around 30 minute drive from Waimangu.

En-route we swung by downtown Rotorua to buy the Manuka honey (which we decided against the day before) as well as Agrodome Gold Pass from i-Site for the following day.

The birds and animals were definitely more visible in the daylight.

Trouts

Headless bird ?!

Mandarin ducks

Not dead I hope

The bird which left the deepest impression on me was Jenny.

Jenny the Kea

Keas are actually as smart as a 5 year old child and Jenny was no exception.

Whenever a visitor got nearby Jenny would quickly scamper towards him/her in the hope of food.

However she was put on a special diet and visitors aren’t allowed to feed her.

There was also a section on animals non-native to NZ.

Living in harmony

Benjamin and Napoleon?

Wallabies

Almost all attractions in NZ ended with a common feature: gift shops.

Definitely a good income generator.

We bought some t-shirts with NZ designs for 10 NZD each which was pretty value-for-money in my opinion.

Since it was too early for dinner we were off to Pak’nSave again.

Pak'nSave

Something funny caught my eye:

Not the best name for any Hokkien speakers

We bought usual bread and noodles for the following day’s meals as well as 1.5kg of super affordable golden kiwi fruits at 1.95 NZD.

As the sky got dark and temperature went lower, Elfie’s windscreen got fogged up and I wasn’t fancying driving around half-blind.

Hence we ditched Elfie at our hotel’s carpark and walked to the main restaurant drag for dinner.

Restaurants

The interesting thing was that we were served by an Indian girl in a Chinese restaurant (where the food was not bad and the portions generous)..

Globalization indeed.

Back at the hotel lobby, I was reading the newspapers while waiting for the internet kiosks and one of the more interesting articles was the profiles of the two final contestants ahead of the finale of MasterChef New Zealand.

Both of them came from interesting backgrounds with one being Brit with Caribbean roots while the other is a half-Chinese dietician with the surname Lim.

And I had a case of deja vu when I happened to channel surf into the finale back in my room.

It turned out to be quite an entertaining finale especially the last part on macarons.

Nadia making macarons

And the best part was that the better contestant won. 🙂

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