With the great Springbok win still causing some disturbances in Team Lipstick’s heads they nevertheless hit the road towards Napier and Rotorua.
The first hour or 2 was spend driving north with the sea on the left and the Tararua forests on the right-hand side of Lipstick. Small towns with a great colonial character were passed and another fuel stop was had whilst the weather still was pretty cold and miserable.
Driving through vast areas of farmland full of sheep and cattle the boys made it to the famous Taupo lake… but stopped on before to admire some greatly engineered mobile homes which were standing on the side of the road for advertising.
Taupō was created nearly two thousand years ago by a volcanic eruption so big it darkened the skies in Europe and China. Visit the Craters of the Moon and you’ll see evidence of the lake’s fiery birth in the geysers, steaming craters and boiling mud pools. At some of Taupō’s beaches, swimmers and paddlers can enjoy warm, geothermal water currents.
After spending some time on the edge of the Taupo lake the boys proceeded to the very famous Huka Falls …
A few hundred metres upstream from the Huka Falls, the Waikato River narrows from approximately 100 metres across into a canyon only 15 metres across. The canyon is carved into lake floor sediments laid down before Taupo’s Oruanui eruption 26,500 years ago.
The volume of water flowing through often approaches 220,000 litres per second. The flow rate is regulated by Mercury NZ Ltd through the Taupo Control Gates as part of their hydrosystem planning, with Waikato Regional Council dictating flows during periods of downstream flooding inthe Waikato River catchment. Mercury NZ have ability to control the flows between 50,000 litres per second (or 50 m3/s) and 319,000 litres per second.
The next stop was at Napier where a nice craft brewery at the waterfront (Hawkswharf) provided the boys with a nice seafood chowder and some of their well brewed liquids.
The trip went on through mountainous (you either go up or down in New Zealand) forest roads called the “Thermal Highway” and its most famous city Rotorua.
Rotorua, a town set on its namesake lake on New Zealand’s North Island, is renowned for its geothermal activity and Maori culture. In Te Puia’s Whakarewarewa Valley, there are bubbling mud pools and the 30m-tall Pohutu Geyser, which erupts many times daily. It’s also home to a living Maori village and the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, with traditional wood carving and weaving schools.
Nice eating places were found in “Eat Street” where one restaurant lines up to the next offering food from all over the world – not to mention very good wine!