The landscape of New Zealand’s north island is both similar and very different from the south island. We had drizzly wet weather and bright sun – usually in the same day. The mists in NZ are somehow a lot more alluring to me than our regular fog here at home.
The rugged mountains are replaced by hills and grassland. For a while I was reminded of driving through sagebrush country in Wyoming. Of course with different vegetation and on a much, much smaller scale.
The contrast of light on the bright gold grasses next to the deepness of the evergreen bush was mesmerizing. The views out the window are a main reason I barely touched the hand stitching I brought with me to work on while on the bus.
Two lane twisty roads were the other reason – although I’m quite proud that I developed the ability to thread my embroidery needle with the thick silk threads I was using.
Our delightful hostess met us off the bus and drove us around for a bit, past the Governor’s house… one more thing I wish, wish, wish we had time to stop and explore. Let’s just say I can’t possibly check New Zealand off my bucket list yet.
In fact, the list of things I really, really, really want to do in New Zealand simply got longer. Much longer.
We had a beautiful stop at Tikitapu/Blue Lake, which has no surface outlet and is thought to drain via an underground connection to Lake Rotokakahi. On certain days it is bright turquoise from above due to reflections from white rhyolite and pumice on it’s floor.
Rotokakahi, or Green Lake is right behind you from the rise we were on. It is tape, or sacred to the local Maori so nobody is permitted recreational activities there. Kakahi means shellfish.
And because I took pictures of both from the same vantage point, I have no idea which is which in my camera roll.
It was actually off for dinner then my lecture that night but I’m going to include one of our “day off” activities here because I think we did four days worth of activities on that one day.
Rotorua is known for it’s thermal pools and volcanic activity. We were there on a good day and the air only smelled slightly sulfurous. We didn’t go to the commercial hot pools tourist attraction, our local guide took us to a local park full of fenced areas surrounding mud pits and steaming ground.
I’m told it was very very dry and that usually this cracked slurping pit was slushy and bubbling. There were other pits doing so and I managed to miss getting photos of them.
There was an entire pond/small lake billowing steam. Billowing. It was the kind of thing that could put you into a trance if it didn’t sort of burn your lungs.
It was crazy to look down and see the water … boiling! I think a spa day would be very high on my list for a return trip to Rotorua!