Thursday, February 7, 2013

Rotorua to Taupo

We headed to Taupo from Rotorua on Sunday, February 3 and hit a few sights along the way. After seeing so many sheep driving from city to city, we finally got the chance to see them up close and personal. 

BAA RAM EWE (actually, from left to right are a Merino, Corriedale, and Border Leicester sheep)
With an English Lancaster sheep

Paul wasn't too interested in getting that close…
They smelled the fear on him

But he did some handy camera work in the nursery - check out this video:

During this show, volunteers were requested for various activities. For some reason, Paul always gets picked…and this time, he got to feed the baby sheep. He was happy to fatten them up so that one day, they would be on his dinner plate.

We even got to see someone shave a sheep - finally!

And, after abusing some of the large statues…

Paul giving the sheep a good punch...
...and then picking this one's nose
Yes, I climbed on top of this - not a pretty sight - Hi Ho Silver!
...we headed towards Taupo but stopped by Wai-O-Tapu (sacred waters) Thermal Wonderland. The smell of sulfur was even more nauseating to us, especially after Whakarewarewa. It was even less tolerable, since the winds were blowing just in the right direction - straight into our faces. Despite the smelliness, we enjoyed the beauty of the scenic reserve. We did the full 75 minute hike and saw all the sights. Let me tell you, flip flops are not the best footwear for this trek. You would think we would learn this by now. 

The Champagne Pool occupies a 700 year old explosion crater formed by a hydro-thermal eruption.

Artist's Palette; the Champagne Pool is seen in the back right side with the steam over it
In front of the steaming Champagne Pool
Primrose Terrace - formed from the water of the Champagne Pool
A different view of the Champagne Pool

Paul didn't see how the path we walked on is safe when only 2 feet on either side was UNSAFE. 

"Every time Paul walks Wai-O-Tapu, he's unsafe!"
The geyser was dry by the time we got here but we could still see the water bubbling
We made it to Lake Ngakoro - it was worth the long, hot, stinky walk

Paul pointing to more bubbling - we don't feel safe
It's like a Bob Ross painting
"Devil's Bath" - this doesn't quite capture how green this water really waas

We finally arrived in Taupo around 4pm. 

We made it to Taupo! Can you see the lake behind us?

After getting settled, we decided to hike to Huka Falls since it's the "must see" attraction in Taupo. The owner of the hostel said it was an hour hike each way so we thought it wouldn't be bad. Even though we were dead tired from hiking Wai-O-Tapu and driving, we wanted to see this waterfall. I changed into hiking shoes for this trek (I'm learning) and I was glad because it turned out to be a 3.5 hour hike with lots of hills.

Waikato River is New Zealand's longest river and crashes its way through the Huka Falls
Paul is really becoming an expert at these shots
A long hike to the falls
Paul did not enjoy walking uphill in his flippity flops

We made it to Huka Falls!

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