Day 11: Driving to Tongariro NP

Today, we woke up to the slight sulphurous odour which seems to be ever present in Rotorua.

Because this smell has a reason for which the tourists come to this place, us included, we said our goodbyes to the host John and drove out of town towards our next destination: Tongariro National Park.
After a short drive though we decided to stop at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, as it is the biggest and most visited thermal site in the region.
And no, the site is not as cheesy as the name seems to point at. 😀

Unfortunately for us the weather is completely overcast with clouds, and is a completely different story from what it used to be the last couple of days. The temperature also plummeted about 7 degrees, down to about 18 from a very cosy 25 to 27.
With colours in the park like they are at Wai-O-Tapu it is a shame they don’t come out that good with this dimmed light. Oh well…

The site itself is actually really nice to be! It hosts mud polls, a semi man made geyser (every 24 hour they disturb it to blow, otherwise it would be on an irregular 24 to 36 hour schedule), several collapsed craters, fumaroles, huge sinter fields, hot and cold pools, several blast craters where the hydrothermal blasts took place and much more.

Best of it all is the very accessible walkway with the self guided tour of the site. The worst part is that you are not alone in the park, it is quite the tourist attraction where also the big buses go.

Around 2 we finished the tour of the park and decided it would be best to drive the rest of the distance to Tongariro NP as we didn’t want to be too tired tomorrow: we plan on walking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing!

The weather right now in Tongariro is quite miserable, and might not get much better tomorrow. We have made the right arrangements and will see first thing tomorrow when we wake up.