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Day 9 – Exploring Rorotua

October 24, 2012

After a rather chilly night and start to the day it was to be wall to wall blue skies with a nice comfortable temperature for the rest of the day. We are staying in a very nice holiday park with excellent amenities and within 15mins walk to the city centre. We hadn’t decided what to do during the day so took ourselves to explore the area and looking for somewhere to have a coffee we ended up at the Rotorua Lake side. There are lots you can do like take a power boat ride across the lake, have a leisurely cruise on a paddle steamer, helicopter rides. We were taken with the idea of a scenic air tour by floatplane over some of the many volcanoes around Rotorua. Because the conditions were perfect we decided we should take there and then (this proved to be the most expensive coffee I have ever paid for lol). The tour we opted for proved to be spectacular in so many ways. We boarded our 6 seater cessna floatplane which would take off from the lake, what an experience. I was sat in the front seat alongside the pilot, we’ve never been in anything smaller than a 50 seater plane when we were in the Ukraine (and that was a little scary at times). We had no idea what to expect but it was amazing as we gathered speed and then gently rose above the glistening lake.

Our journey took us over a number of Crater Lakes and then on to the volcanic rift of Mt Tarawera. The views were awesome as we zig-zagged around this great volcano which last erupted in 1886 creating an 8km long volcanic rift along its summit. We could only have experienced the magnitude of this from above. Our pilot was incredibly informative and had us looking in so many different directions. I was clicking away on the camera trying to capture something of the awesome scenery that was set out all around us. We headed south over the thermal areas of Waimangu and Waitopu, seeing these from above is very different to being amongst them as you get to see the expanse of these over many acres of land.

After around 45 mins of flying we headed for our destination which is known as the Hidden Valley of Orakei Korako which although is accessible by road.  However approaching this over the rising hills to land on the lake was truly breathtaking. I often wondered what it might be like to do this – now I know. However, I’m quickly running our of superlatives to describe what it was like.

On getting out of the plane we were met with a tranquil, peaceful, warm without any wind experience. We were taken to what was going to be the next stage of our adventure. We to be transferred by boat across the lake to explore the bubbling hot springs, rushing geysers and natural beauty of this hidden geothermal wonderland. We were not to be disappointed with our tour around this vast land. At each corner we were met first of all by the gurgling and bubbling sound of the hot springs then a great site of steam and the land literally bubbling. The geysers were not in great action but we still got a sense of the power that was rumbling away underground. The walk around this area is on wooden platforms and steps as the ground is too hot to walk on. You cannot touch any of the water as it is at least 90c and would give you serious burns. We we weaved our way around the various springs and geysers before returning back to the ferry landing to be transported back across the lake. How time goes quickly when your enjoying yourselves so we had just enough time left to grab a delicious home made sandwich and drink before boarding the floatplane back to Rototua which took us back over various other lakes before landing back on the lake mid afternoon – this had probably been the best 3 hrs that we had so far spent in NZ. As we wandered back to our camper-van munching on yet another ice-cream we marvelled and talked about what we had seen. This was not to be the end of what had so far been an outstanding day – God had been good. He provided superb weather for us to experience the wonders and awesomeness of His creation. We are in no doubt of this!! (Part 2 to follow)

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