Kiwi Exp. - Taupo to RotoruaJuly 12, 2015 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌙 18 °C
Last night we caught up with Jamie and Abi over beers. They had arrived in Taupo on their way back North after we left them in Queenstown a week ago. They like us, had to be back in Auckland for their flight out of New Zealand so we will again travel together until then. We had left them drinking last night so saw them worse for wear this morning on the bus. Fortunately for everyone it was only an hour's drive from Taupo to Rotorua so by mid-morning we found ourselves checked into our hostel.
Due to staying in the Maori village on our travel southward we had not had the chance to explore Rotorua. However as described in our previous posts, the area is renowned for its geothermal activity, which amongst many things causes the air around the town to stink of eggs. This is good if you want to get away with a cheeky trouser cough on the bus.
With our bodies weary from yesterday's hike we chose to visit 'Hell's Gate', where for nearly 800 years the local Maori have bathed, relaxed and healed in the area's unique geothermal muds and acidic sulphurous pools.
After hiring towels and swim gear (we had learnt that the mud could discolour and cause your own to stink of sulphur even after washing) we tentatively submerged ourselves into the warm grey brown soup of the mud pools. Scrapping the mud from the base of the pool we coated our skin until it hardened and cracked in the shining sun above us. Although we had arrived layered in hats and coats, we felt very warm in the pools with just our swimwear. You can debate the actual healing qualities but it was fun to play in the mud.
Afterwards we showered off the mud and lounged in 40 degree spa pools where the steam wisped off the surface. Behind lay the geothermal park itself and you could not have been closer to the sources of the pools we were bathing in. We sat simmering until our fingers pruned and the heat made us drowsy. After a further shower to rinse off the sulphur and wake up, we returned to our hostel in an almost dream-like state as the aches we had felt were greatly diminished.
After dinner we sat with the hostel owner, Gerard, and talked about many things, including Trek America, as he drove for them during the 1980s. Having travelled extensively and being a natural story teller meant time with Gerard flew by quickly and left us wishing that we could stay longer.Read more