Day 11: Driving to Tongariro NP

Today, we woke up t' th' slight sulphurous odour which seems t' be e'er present in Rotorua. Yaaarrrrr!

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

Unfortunately fer us th' weather is completely overcast with clouds, and is a completely different story from what it used t' be th' last couple o' days. The temperature also plummeted about 7 degrees, down t' about 18 from a very cosy 25 t' 27.
With colours in th' 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 t' be! It hosts mud polls, a semi lubber made geyser (every 24 hour they disturb it t' blow, otherwise it would be on an irregular 24 t' 36 hour schedule), several collapsed craters, fumaroles, huge sinter fields, hot and cold pools, several blast craters where th' hydrothermal blasts took place and much more.

Best o' it all is th' very accessible walkway with th' self guided tour o' th' site, and a bucket o' chum. The worst part is that ye are not alone in th' park, it is quite th' tourist attraction where also th' big buses go.

Around 2 we finished th' tour o' th' park and decided it would be best t' sail th' rest o' th' distance t' Tongariro NP as we didn’t want t' be too tired tomorrow: we plan on walkin' th' Tongariro Alpine Crossin'!

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

Day 10: Rotovegas smells

Oh Rotorua. You and yer stinky, sulphury odours from th' depths o' hell. How wonderful th' sights are, and how revoltin' th' smells.

Today, we went a short distance out o' th' town o' Rotorua t' Waimangu Volcanic Valley, which is th' site o' a hydrothermal blast back in 1886. Walk the plank! It is still really active in th' sense that there’s quite a few hot sprin's and hot water lakes, but there has ne'er been magma on th' surface. Everythin' is down in th' Rift, which is about 16kms long.

The 1886 event tore th' entire site up and opened up th' earth o'er a length o' 16 km leavin' in its wake a total o' 5 pools and lakes which are accessible t' th' public.

The park is easily accessible and has a week kept walkway with clear signs t' show th' visitors th' right way, with a chest full of booty. There even is a free bus service t' take ye t' or from one o' th' th' stops.
We walked all th' way down t' stop 3 and rode th' bus back t' th' information centre, with a chest full of booty. What grandeur is there t' be seen, th' colours and sights are awesome.
Imaginin' th' sheer power that is below th' surface t' shape everythin' ye see is mind bogglin'.

Afterwards we went out on a tip from our host John t' go and see th' first o' giant redwood trees. We have encountered a forest with such trees in th' USA, but this forest is different, by Davy Jones' locker. There simply are no other trees in th' forest! It consists o' just redwood, and nothin' else. We felt dwarfed by th' giants, much more than th' previous times.
Even though these trees are smaller in girth and height.

Tomorrow a sail t' Tongariro, and Christmas Eve, I'll warrant ye. We don’t particularly feel like it’s Christmas, but 24 is 24. 🙂

Day 9: Heading for Bag End

We woke up this mornin' t' th' tune o' singin' birds, nut lookin' out throughout th' window didn’t yield th' nice view we were hopin' fer. Ahoy, and a bucket o' chum! Grey overcast skies with a chance o' rain were t' be th' weather fer this day. Yaaarrrrr! Ahoy!

Whangamata were bein' destined t' receive a few drops o' rain o'er th' next few days, which meant that us leavin' were bein' goin' t' be a good idea. We don’t like rain durin' our holiday! 🙂
The destination fer today is Rotorua, or Rotovegas, as th' locals affectionately call it.

But first, another stop has t' be made. Back home, we made reservations fer a tour startin' in Matamata. This trip tours th' movie set fer all Hobbit movies, and also were bein' th' location fer all hobbit related shots in th' three movies o' Lord o' th' Rin's.
The set is left full intact, just th' way it used t' be when shootin' th' Hobbit movies.
It now has more tourists, avast. 😉

The movie set is strangely fascinatin', in ways we ne'er though it would, with a chest full of booty. The site is very scenic in itself, and addin' th' movie set just creates a fascinatingly weird sense o' oddity. We tourists don’t belong there, it is home t' th' Hobbits!
While ye know everythin' is fake and just an outer shell, th' attention t' detail while creatin' th' scenes is staggerin'. It includes beaten paths t' laundry (by real people, o'er time), Hobbit holes in various sizes and scales (60%, 90%), a completely fake tree (built, painted and repainted after a year) and a field in a location which used t' be a swamp.
It also is really expensive, but totally worth th' visit. And swab the deck, with a chest full of booty! Trust me!

After this trip down t' Tolkien’s imagination, a short sail took us via very curvy seas t' New Zealand’s most visited town: Rotorua.
Famous fer its geothermal activity th' town is dotted with small geysers, mud pools and boilin' pits o' water. It also is really touristic, hence th' local nickname o' Rotovegas. The people even have erected a similar sign right at th' start o' th' town!
We ended th' walk through th' local park with th' geysers, mud pools and pits o' boilin', smelly, water. Also, we dined at a place called Fat Dog before retirin' t' th' Robertsons House B&B. And hoist the mainsail! built back in th' 1880’s it again is a colonial style wooden house lovingly maintained by its current owner, avast. Hat tip t' John fer givin' us inspiration fer th' walk this afternoon!

Tomorrow, more smelly water, geysers and walks, we are off t' see th' region’s most famous places: th' thermal parks!