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Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Travel: Blue Skies and Geothermal Adventures

Blue Skies and Geothermal Adventures in Taupo, New Zealand
See more of our New Zealand Adventures & other travels here!

Why hello there! I've got more of our New Zealand Adventures to share with you today and this time, SHOCK HORROR!, there's even some sunshine! 

On the Road Again

In our last New Zealand post, I left you with Jesse driving to our next home away from home; Braxmere Lake Taupo - but before we got there, we had some driving to do. 

We'd left Paradise Valley Springs in the rain, however, as we were driving along the sun started to come out and we joked to one another that perhaps our rainy days were behind us and we'd get to enjoy our lakeside stay with a side of sunshine...

Bipolar Weather and Torrential Rain in Taupo New Zealand

But there's something we forgot.... the ultimate rule; 
Don't speak too soon. 

Out of nowhere, the blue skies turned into grey skies and rain came teaming down from the heavens. 

Bipolar Weather and Torrential Rain in Taupo New Zealand

And in true New Zealand style, the rain hit when we were driving down a narrow winding road right next to the lake. It was so hard that we actually considered pulling over and waiting it out, however, there wasn't anywhere to do that so we crept along at a snail's pace instead.

Bipolar Weather and Torrential Rain in Taupo New Zealand

But just as quickly as the rain hit, it disappeared. I kid you not, this photo and the one above were taken just TWO minutes apart. 

This is where we learnt that New Zealand has some seriously bipolar weather. Those clouds don't know what they're supposed to be doing ;P 

Braxmere Lake Taupo Accommodation Review - Self Contained Apartment New Zealand

By the time we arrived at Braxmere on Lake Taupo, the sun was out and the skies were gloriously blue!

Our home away from home for the night was a one bedroom self contained apartment with incredible lake views. 

Braxmere Lake Taupo Accommodation Review - Self Contained Apartment New Zealand

The apartment was perfect. We had a comfy king sized bed (where we had one of the best night's sleep of the trip!) with lake views, a generously sized living room, private deck with barbeque, a HUGE bathroom and a full kitchen and dining table. The only thing we didn't have was an oven, however, we didn't need it!

Braxmere Lake Taupo Accommodation Review - Self Contained Apartment New Zealand

Whilst we were unpacking the car, Jesse had mentioned that he felt like it was going to rain again - so we decided to get out and explore whilst we could!

Braxmere Lake Taupo Accommodation Review - Self Contained Apartment New Zealand

Sure enough he was right and as we were standing on the dock, the rain clouds starting rolling back in! We wanted to eat dinner outside so I rushed back inside to cook, only to put dinner on the table out on the deck and have the heavens open up once again :P 

Braxmere Lake Taupo Accommodation Review - Self Contained Apartment New Zealand

But whilst it might have rained all night, the next morning we woke to glorious sunshine once again, which was perfect as we had a busy day planned outside!

Cheap Hire Car Rental New Zealand North Island

We loaded up our little rental car and hit the road again ready for our next adventures.... 

Driving to Orakei Korako Taupo New Zealand

On the agenda was a Geothermal Adventure! We'd seen steam rising from different geothermal areas during our drives so far, however, we were headed to Orakei Korako to experience it all first hand.

You see, we were right in the middle of a huge volcanic plateau. Lake Taupo itself is actually set on top of the middle of one of the world's largest super-volcanoes.

Orakei Korako Geothermal Experience Taupo New Zealand

Orakei Korako is a geothermal area filled with geysers, hot springs, bubbling mud pools and huge silica terraces. It's home to the most active geysers of any of the geothermal parks in New Zealand and The Lonely Planet Guide named Orakei Korako as "the best thermal area left in New Zealand". 

When you arrive, you'll find yourself across the lake from the park itself - but a quick ferry ride (included in your ticket price) will have you right amongst it! 

Orakei Korako Geothermal Experience Taupo New Zealand

The ferry runs all day from 8am until 4pm and as it runs on demand, you can hop on whenever you're ready! 

Tickets cost $36 for adults and $15 for kids which cover your ferry ride as well as entry into the park. You can stay as little or as long as you like, however, the walk as a whole takes between 1-2 hours, depending on your walking speed. 

Click to watch | Taken on our TomTom Bandit

Here's a super quick 30 second video run through of the park which will show you the bubbling hot springs and mud pools if you're interested ;) 

Orakei Korako Geothermal Experience Taupo New Zealand

The park is beautifully maintained with an easy boardwalk track. The walk itself has a "medium" difficulty rating, however, it's suitable for all fitness levels as there are plenty of spots to stop and rest if needed. 

There are quite a lot of steps and uneven paths so if you're traveling with a wheelchair or pram/stroller, this isn't the place for you. 

Silica Terraces at Orakei Korako Geothermal Experience Taupo New Zealand

The naturally fault-stepped silica terraces at Orakei Korako are believed to be the largest of their kind (since the destruction of the famous Pink and White Terraces in Lake Rotomahana in 1886) and they all have their own names and different origins. 

Above is the Golden Fleece Terrace (if my memory serves me right!) which is known as "Te Kapua" in Maori, which means "the cloud".

Elephant Rock at Orakei Korako Geothermal Experience Taupo New Zealand

Along the walk you'll see everything from the Elephant Rock to the Ruatapu Cave (also known as Aladdin's Cave).

Orakei Korako Geothermal Experience Taupo New Zealand

But regardless of whether you're into science-y/geography stuff or even understand it (I'm not and I have no idea when it comes to technical jargon), there's one thing for sure; Orakei Korako is absolutely stunning - and an awesome way to spend the day. 

We were both so glad to get out and get moving - and what better way than whilst exploring something totally unique?!

The Details;
Braxmere Lake Taupo - we stayed in the one bedroom apartment | Orakei Korako - $36 adults, $15 children (includes ferry ride) | Car Rental - Go Rentals Compact Auto Toyota Corolla | Kristy and Jesse explored NZ as guests of Tourism New Zealand.

But tell me, what was your favourite subject at school?
Were you into science or geography or were you better at arts or literature?
And what's your favourite kind of weather?
I was an English lover (no surprises there as I'm a writer) and loved photography and food technology/cooking classes (no surprises there either!) and when it comes to weather, I LOVE warm, blue sky sunshine-y days!

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