Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Wellington to Rotorua

After the Night of Very Little Sleep we were all up early and eager to be on our way.  We had a quick make-do breakfast of fruit and muesli bars in our room, and were on the road north by about 8.30 am.   First stop was Paraparamau for coffee an hour into the trip after which Dad took over the driving.  In true tourist fashion (ie seeing as much as possible) we stopped in Foxten at De Molen which is a working windmill.  Dad went up to see the inner workings while Mom and I browsed the gift shop which was full of Dutch cookies and treats, and run by a Dutch lady.
The drive from there to Lake Taupō was extremely interesting and scenic with vast changes in the landscape - from rolling green hills dotted which sheep (very St Helena-esque) to barren scrub-land on the aptly named Desert Road, to twisty roads and hairpins bends and pine-tree bordered lanes.
We stopped for a late lunch of pizza (yay for the Dominoes app on my iPhone!) at Taupō's edge. The Great Lake Taupō is right in the middle of the North Island and is the biggest freshwater lake in Australasia.  We got a good idea of the size when we drove for many kilometres around its eastern edge and didn't get anywhere to the top of it! 
Drove for another hour or so before seeing another signpost of interest to Wairakei Natural Thermal Valley - actually our attention was caught by the Wairakei Power Station which had clouds of thick white steam billowing out of a maze of pipes.  This led us to a camping ground and shop surrounded by green lawns, chickens, hens, guineafowl, peacocks, caravans and not too many people.  Dad and I paid $10 each for the privilege of doing the thermal walk (a bit of a rip-off in our opinion); Mom waited in the shade.
Arrived at our Top 10 motel around 6 pm - after last night's accommodations we thought this was luxury!  We did a quick unpack and had complimentary coffee then navigated ourselves to the local PaknSave for breakfast supplies, followed by a drive around Lake Rotorua foreshore where we came upon the incredible Museum and Government Gardens - a most impressive building "like a fairy tale castle", Dad said.   We also fortuitously happened upon the opening scene of a 1930's styled play on the theatre steps - "How Great Thou Art" sung in Maori was a fabulous drawcard!  McDonald's for tea, then bed.

1 comment:

Helen Williams said...

Hi Lyn I'm just catching up on all your adventures.
You will be able to sing the song 'I've been everywhere man', these holidays.
You were brave visiting Rotorua while there was a Guide Jamboree on. Savannah was in Rotorua that week.