06 July 2016

To the East Coast...

It was time to leave Rotorua, and head to Napier, on the East Coast, but I had a couple of stops to make along the way.  I had visited one major Thermal park yesterday, so today I visited the other major park in this area, Wai-O-Tapu, which means "sacred waters" in Maori, and the area contains a number of colorful hot springs and a few small geysers, plus one larger geyser.  The Lady Knox Geyser is a fairly recent discovery, first spied by a bunch of local prisoners.  They decided to wash their clothes in the hot spring, and upon adding soap, induced the geyser to surprise them with hot jets of water. 

So, the tradition is to ceremoniously (yet somehow unceremoniously) induce the geyser daily at 10.15am promptly, by pouring a "harmless" surfactant in the nozzle and then watch the geyser spurt for half an hour or so.  I arrived after all the pomp, but still managed to watch the geyser, which was still impressive, before I headed into the park proper.

The park covers a large area, and the heavy fog I drove through to get to the park, combined with the steam and sulfur, made for some soupy air and a few cloudy pictures, but even with my color blindness, I could see most of the different colors found in the various hot springs and bubbling craters. 

The weather stayed cool and cloudy/foggy for most of the day, struggling to get out of the 40s, but it wasn't windy or raining, so it wasn't miserable.  It was another 90 or so minutes to get to Napier, on the East Coast, climbing up and over a mountainy area that led to a different climatic zone, and it resembled California.  Given that this is the second largest wine producing region in the country, that made a lot of sense.  I did a double take as I saw sheep grazing under grape arbors along the highway, and hopefully I can snap a picture of that on the way out.

There were a couple of waterfalls along the way today, too, which I always enjoy seeing, and the water looked icy cold.  I had a nice warm lunch overlooking Lake Taupo, another caldera on the island that is considered dormant, but not quite extinct.  I availed myself of "Superloo", which as the name suggests, is a multi-award winning restroom facility that I don't really need to elaborate on.

I'm now in Napier, a city with an interesting history to reveal tomorrow, after I take a tour of the local architecture.