24.11.2005 12 °C
We are clocking up the miles now and have travelled over 1000km to date.
Day 5 dawned fresh and clear after a chilly night in Roturua. There is a strange whiff about the place. All the thermal activity going on arround the area means that the sulphur smell permeates the air, and gets into your clothes. We had a pint out in a real Irish Bar.. in a very draughty part of town! I resisted the temptaion to try Guiness though.. somehow I know it will not taste the same over here.
We had another earlyish start today. First stop on our tour was Whai-o-Tupo. The Thermal Wonderland. Lots of smells again and steam gushing from the earth. Hot water mixing with cool streams and making strange colours out of the water. Clouds of steam rest on the surface of the Champaigne Pool... so called as the bubbles of CO2 come to the surface and remind one of a glass of Moet.
We saw huge chasms in the earth with bubbling mud and an ever changing palette of colours caused by the chemicals in the water.
The highlight though was the Lady Bower Geyser. This is a "managed" geyser, erupting at 10.15 am every morning. They put soap stuff down it to distrub the surface tension and make sure it erupts on time. Quite impresive if a little false. Once we had seen this then we headed back to the park to view the rest of the steamy exhibits and marvel at the Opal pools.
On then to Taupo. Home of the big lake. Very nice city... by NZ standards. But there was a breeze blowing off the lake... made it feel like minus 10 not 20 degrees C. We overnighted here at a park with a big bouncy pillow.... a buried bouncy castle which is open to all... even us pretend adults... so we took the opertunity to bounce. Great fun.
Day 6 dawned another great sunny morning. We headed out of Taupo out towards the Hills. We took the SH5 to Napier. NZ's Art Deco city. A massive earth quake hit the town in 1931. As a result all the old buildings fell and were replaced with the syle of the time... fortunately this was Art Deco.
Today the main street in Napier looks a little tired in places with the air of faded 1930's glory that you can expereince anywhere in the UK. However some buildings have still retained a wonderful period character. Its always a good idea to look up sometimes... you never know what you might see.
Napier has a charming meusum well worth the $7.50 it cost us each, where exhibits on modern day style nestle with Art Deco peices, Mauori art... pieces with no explanation put to them, as only those involved with the production of the piece know the story of its origin sit next to stories of terible death and destruction as the earth quake hits the town. Downstairs is a pc terminal with a link direct to the earthquake reccord service. Apparently we slept through the last earth quake.... 2.45am the night previous, and the other 6 quakes that have hit since we landed on NZ soils.
We decided that Napier's charms weren't enogh to detain us more than a few hours and headed out of town along the SH5 to a strange place... Dannevirke. This town was established by the Danes in the 1870's but was abandoned by them after the road they were building was finished. The whole place survives now on its name. We overnighted at a quirky campsite, with its own deer park and wild bird area. Nice and peaceful.. apart from the local joy riders.. we didn't care - the days of travel take their toll... and bed time comes round quickly.
So today to Wellington. More of this delight later. Nettie has up'd more pics and we are in need of coffee.
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