Taking the Sealink Car Ferry from Kennedy Point, Waiheke we parked up and went over as foot passengers to the Half Moon Bay Terminal, Auckland. We picked up a car kindly loaned by Tim and Ginny who live on the island from Buckland Beach yacht club and set of south to Rotorua. The drive took us through mainly flat fields and pasture land, with occasional farm houses, barns and large herds of cows on excellent straight and curved roads with very few cars on the road. The Subaru Forester made for a solid drive and handled well.
As we approached Rotorua we drove through The Mamaku Ranges, which is an area that has some impressive rugged and conical shaped hills, some of which had large stone forms resting on top. This area reminded me of Stonehenge and the surrounding area of Salisbury Plain, back in the U.K.
We arrived at the Regent Hotel early afternoon and we were greeted by rather a strong smell of sulphur, with geothermal bubbling springs dotted around the town, it’s hardly surprising. The following day we took a trip to the nearby geothermal volcanic valley, Wai-O-Tapu where we were rewarded by spectacular vistas of brightly coloured pools, mud pools and steam activity. The active, Lady Knox Geyser was spectacular even though it had to be induced by a powdery detergent, but with spectacular results.
The following day we visited an area of woodland known as The Redwoods (Whakarewarewa first) not far out of Rotorua. In 1899, native and exotic tree varieties were planted in an area of around 13993 acres. It was a wonderful experience, silent, meditative and sensory.
Lastly we visited the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, a magical excursion underground, guided through caves of stalagmite and stalactite structures, deep into the darkness where finally on an underground river boat we saw thousands of these little creatures emanating light like the cosmos. (no photography was allowed) the photos below were taken exiting the cave.