Monday, November 23, 2009
Lessons in Mauri
We left Auckland and headed southward to Rotorua. Rotorua is the second lake discovered by Awara when he landed in the region. Unfortunately it was the largest lake and Rotoiti, the first lake being smaller never developed a community. Now from that little Mauri lesson you should be able to figure out the Mauri words for 'first', 'second', and 'lake'. Rotorua is a pretty interesting place with lots of thermal activity. Many areas have steam vents, bubbling mud and very hot pools. One hot ool we looked at holds a constant temperature of 167 degrees Celsius. This because the minerals in the pool allow the boiling point to be higher. The trouble with all this is that Rotorua is a relatively dangerous place. While you can harness the steam for heating you can also end up with an unwanted steam vent in your driveway or under your house. We saw a few of these and visited a village that is slowly moving up their hill as the ground becomes thinner and thinner. We really enjoyed Rotorua and wanted to stay but Taupo was calling.
Taupo has some similar thermal activity going on as well but to set it apart it has an active volcano just to the south. It is situated beside a like that is 1,100 feet above sea level and is New Zealands largest fresh water lake. When we arrived in Taupo the weather finally broke. Up to now it had been a little dreary and wet but not too cold. For the last two days it has been amazingly hot and both Terry and I have been burn by the New Zealand sun despite multipul applications of sun screen. Yesterday we hiked the botanical gardens at the Top of Taupo. Beside the amazing gardens the view out to the lake was amazing. Today was a great adventure and probably our biggest challenge to date. We went from our hostel through town and out to the Waikato river, hiked through the gorge to Haku and back into town to get a late afternoon bus back. Both the gorge and the falls were well worth our sore feet at the end of the day. Well that's all for now. It still gets cool at night, despite being almost 30 today so I'm headed inside. I will post more picks on face book as soon as I edit them. I am emailing people but they don't always seem to go through for some reason so be patient if you don't always get a response and know I am shaking and cursing this infernal machine for not cooperating.