After the fun of the Huka Falls Jetboat, we headed for Rotorua, where we were staying for a couple of nights. The whole Taupo / Rotorua region of New Zealnd’s north island is a raised platform of volcanic activity. Lake Taupo (NZ’s largest lake) is actually a volcanic crater formed some 26,500 years ago. But it is Rotorua that is best known for its volcanic activity – in the form of geysers, bubbling mud pools and steaming lakes and rivers. The downside of this is the smell of sulphur. Luckily our accomodation was relatively free of that – except when it rained. I’n not sure if its the cloud keeping everything down, or the rain stirring everything up (or perhaps even a combination), but one evening when it did rain, the smell was pretty bad (so said Sue – I took her word for it and didn’t go out to check).
We saw plenty of steaming pools (both water and mud), but the highlight was a swim in Kerosene Creek (great name, I know), where the water was approaching 40 degrees C and there was a small waterfall to swim under. I think I’ll now restrict my river swimming to those rivers that are hotter than my shower! The only downside was that all our swimming kit (along with all 0f us) had a distinct smell of sulphur about us – nice!
Unfortunately we had left the really good weather in Hawkes Bay (although Taupo was nice) – the damp weather that started in Rotorua followed us up to the Bay of Plenty, where we were staying at Mt. Maunganui.