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Monday, 16 July 2012

Day 37 - Thursday 12th July - Taupo

There were quite a few things we wanted to see and do here in Taupo so we didn't travel far.

We had quite wanted to do some kayaking but it was a bit cooler and cloudier today so we chickened out! Instead we went on a volcanic adventure!

Firstly we travelled slightly north to visit the Craters of the Moon, a large geothermal park. There was hundreds of cracks in the ground which pressurised steam was hissing through to the surface, called fumaroles. Some of the fumaroles had become blocked and caused the pressure to build up beneath the surface, when these eventually erupt they leave craters, some larger than others. There was also puddles or craters of boiling mud, which gives off a sulphuric "rotten egg" smell, unusual plant life and bright red rocks. An amazing place.

Craters of the Moon - Geothermal Park

We were really there on active volcanic ground!!

Amazingly steam just rises out of the ground all over this area!!

Red ochre soils

The geothermal steam rising from the ground

Our next stop very close by was the Huka Falls where a wide fast-flowing river is funnelled down a narrow gorge, causing a huge swell of turquoise clear river waters. In fact enough water flows through this gorge every minute to fill 5 Olympic sized swimming pools!!!

The Huka Falls - a photo doesn't quite show the vast amount of water passing through that gorge

The Huka Falls Gorge

Water flowing out of the gorge...every minute this would fill 5 Olympic sized swimming pools!!!!

A little further north we visited the Huka Honey Hive, a shop which sells anything from bees, from candles to honey to beauty products to vitamin capsules. There was also a display and video about bees and honey production, I never knew there was so much to know about bees.

The bees in a glass beehive

Next to the honey place was the Volcanic Activity Centre full of interactive displays about volcanoes, earthquakes and the geothermal areas in New Zealand. It taught me a lot and the films about the Mt Ruapehu volcanic eruption in 1995-6 and the Christchurch earthquakes in 2010-11 where very moving.

The Volcanic Activity Centre

We headed back to Taupo where we will freedom camp this evening on the edge of the lake :) (this does mean no power and no heating so a cold one it will be!!)

Lake Taupo

Sunset over Lake Taupo

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