The drive from Rotorua to nearby Taupo is along something called “the Thermal Explorer Highway”. There are mini geysers spewing steam all along the side of the road. Very exciting. The weather is a bit iffy on the drive, but by the time we reach Taupo it is brightening up and turning into a beautiful day. So far, we have been staying in campsites with electricity, showers and all mod cons, but today we decide to dip our toe into the unknown waters of freedom camping. We park up right by the lake and get gorgeous views for free. We even manage to construct an edible meal on the gas rings in the van.
In our position by the lake, we can see the sea-plane taking off and landing on the water. Eventually the temptation proves too much and we wander down to the lakeside to enquire about having a go. Within minutes (during which time we eavesdrop on the pilot telling someone over the phone that his previous passenger was nearly sick) we are in the plane. I give the pre-flight safety briefing more attention than I ever have before. The take-off is actually very smooth, although it is strange to be able to feel the waves underneath you as you taxi around. We take a ten-minute scenic flight over Lake Taupo, the “Craters of the Moon” (a geothermal area with big steamy craters) and the magnificently turquoise Huka Falls. Well worth every penny (and it was quite a lot of pennies).
The next day, our planned kayak trip on the lake is cancelled due to high winds. So we entertain ourselves by watching lunatics throw themselves off a cliff at Taupo Bungee. And I find yet more hot springs to splash about in, although I don’t persuade Mr Beet to join me.
More photos of Taupo on Mr Beet’s flickr page.