Wednesday, July 19, 2017

2017 May 10: Tour Rotorua in the morning then drive by Huka Falls until evening stay in Wellington

This is our first home stay in Rotorua. Arriving late the previous night and thus only having the picture this morning. Parking is not an issue.
Our first Airbnb home stay in Rotorua, New Zealand
Street View outside our one-day home
Vlad is a good and polite host. His wife and children came to visit him at the time of our visit. He did inform me in advance and we were able to meet them. A very sweet and warmth family.
The Rotorua area as per marked on Google Maps
We used to wake up early and this practice continue even when we are on tour. Thus it was an early start, leaving our first house, we drove to the Rotorua town center near the Rotorua lake.

It was a quite morning. The town is consider small, especially the streets where all the travel book recommended restaurant site. We it is still very early (before 08:00 hours), many shops were not opened yet and parking is easy and free. We had a peaceful walk along the Tutanekai Street towards the lakefront park, enjoying the cooling morning breeze.

Lake Front Town center and Park of Rotorua

 As we are born in tropical country, "summer feel" is something we miss and whenever we find trees with the reddish leaves, the romantic feel starts to roam in. Besides, the creative feel started too when we look at the tree of old used bicycles.

Reddish leaves before the falls always give romance feel.
She was in the stage of almost laying down onto the "Romantic Carpet"
Tree of Used Bicycles
Water front is another view that catch our feeling too with it serenity. There are swans that are black in color here. I remember someone told me previously that the swans over the Northern Hemisphere are majority white color whereas those in the Southern Hemisphere sometimes are a mixture of Black and white. I think this is right and it was so lucky that we meet some Southern Hemispheres here on the first visit. Look at the few pictures that captured below as a prove that the swans here are Black and White. :))
Serene Lake with Black Swans
Couple of Black Swans
And this view show that they are actually Black & White
A Peaceful Sail
Hydroplanes are found on the Rotorua lake too
Drop by to the Skyline Rotorua before we go for our breakfast. This is close to Rainbow Springs Natural Park and Mitai Maori Village. The former is not on our visiting list and it was not a guided tour time for the later. Thus we ended up taking picture to show that we had been here:)

Phong Lin at Skyline Rotorua

Michael at Skyline Rotorua
Our method of traveling around normally include to feel how the local feel. Hence vising of a large supermarket chain in New Zealand is a no miss in the itinerary too, even though we normally do not spend too much time in it. The main purpose to get some drinks and dried food so that we can enjoy during driving. Countdown is one of the such major supermarket chain. They open from 6 am to midnight (working harder as compare to 7-11 in Malaysia, right).

What a satisfy smile after getting somethings to enjoy on the drive
As the sun was rising, the smell of rotten egg was getting heavier too. This is the typical smell of a volcanic township. With the introduction from our host Mr. Vlad, we plan to drive to view the show at Lady Knox Geyser which will be started at 10:00. Hence a short breakfast will be just nice as the drive there take approximately 30 minutes. 

We selected the Fat Dog Cafe and Bar for our short breakfast. As the name implies, they have a lot of fat dog displayed on their cabinets. but I like the hand chalk written menu more, however I do not manage to read them all. May be this is because I seldom read English menu. 

After a short discussion, we decided to have a Fat Dog salad and a standard New Zealander's meal fish & chips. The lady by the counter then asked me if I like Children Salad or Base Sandwich. 

Inside the Fat Dog Cafe and Bar
Believing that the children salad must be a small portion for children and hence "base salad" became my choice. After some waiting, hear come the salad and fish & chips. Very large portion, the fish & chips are fine. But the base salad is not only "base" but supplied with quite a lot of meat. Then we realized it was not "base salad" but "beef salad". My god, I do not catch her accent. 

The "base" salad and the Fish & Chips
After breakfast, we are going to the rush to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. This is where the Lady Knox Geyser located and we have to arrive there before 10:00 am. Thanks to my beloved personal driver, we made it.

There are quite a number of people waiting for the lady to perform. This Lady Knox geyser is named after Lady Constance Knox, the second daughter of Uchter Knox, 15th Governor of New Zealand. It was first discovered by a gang of better-behaved prisoners who were accommodated in the first open prison of New Zealand opened in 1901.

It was a gang of those prisoners who first discover the clearing in which the geyser is situated and that the spring can be made to erupt by adding soap. This was discovered when they first added soap to the hot water to wash their clothes. Later finding shows that it is an abnormal situation in which under a certain condition, there can be some hotter water being encapsulated under colder water in some volcanic pool. Soap, being a surfactant when added will break the barrier between the two layer of water and the hotter water from the lower layer erupt and shoot out off the upper layer of colder water. This shooting of water can reach a height of 20 meters, depending on weather.

Visitors waiting for performance of Lady Knox
Lady Knox Geyser after being activated

Lady Knox Geyser before activation

Wai-O-Tapu thermal track with the thermal mud pool is another site that worth a visit. This is where you will be surprise with the wonder of the universe by watching steaming and bubbling mud.

In stead of copying for you information, the explaining signboard is captured here for your information with regards to the mud pool.
Signboard for Wai-O-Tapu Mud Pool
After the visit of mud pool, we continue our journey to Huka Falls region by the northern part of Lake Taopo. We had selected the blue colored route in the following attached map.

Journey from Mud Pool to Huka Falls

Huka Prawn Park is at the downstream of Huka Falls. It became our first stopover. This is where prawn fishing can be done at a cost and we could even pay for their service to cook our fished prawns as needed. The same location sites the Hukafalls Jet ticket counter too.
Huka Prawn Park
Prawn Pools in the Prawn Park
Started from the Prawn park, we drive and had short stopover at Volcanic Activity center, Huka Honey Hive until the Huka Falls.
Entrance to Volcanic Activity Center
Entrance to Volcanic Activity Center
By the Honey Hive, we find out that the Manuka Honey is from normal bee but harvesting their honey from the little white flowers of the Manuka (Tea Tree)
The Honey Hive
This is the Manuka (Tea Tree)
In from of a road side cafe on the way
Opposite to the Cafe with Helicopter
Here came the Huka Falls after approximately 40 minutes drive. This Huka Falls are a set of low waterfalls on the Waikato River that drains Lake Taupo. The parking area is located near a reserve area with a bridge across canyon of approximately 15 meters. As this canyon is narrowed from a wide span of approximately 100 meters to 15 meters, thus the flow of water is vary rapid across this canyon and forms a breath taking falls approximately 100 meters at its downstream.

We noticed the HukaJets from the Prawn Park do sail to the lower level of this falls and watching it from below.

The canyon at upstream of Huka Falls

The canyon at upstream of Huka Falls
After visitng Huka Falls, we drove for 5 hours to Wellington, of course with some stops in between. The selected stop is Licorice Cafe close to Motuapa Bay by the southern section of Lake Taupo, which is introduced in the Lonely Planet Travel Book. Besides the famous ice cream, these are what we have to share. Do not forget the heavy breakfast we had in the Fat dog Cafe and Bar this morning in our late breakfast. Hence I am so excited even with such a small portion.

Second night in New Zealand, we arrived in Wellington as planned. This time we stayed in Ms. Renee's home. A clean house with very comfortable room for us. Renee gave us detail information on how to access the house key, what we can used in the house, including the kitchen and etc in advance after we confirm the booking. 

She was having an appointment on our arriving. So we just followed her instruction and get the key and check into our room. Then we went downtown to the Wellington city center for a brief walk around and our dinner. By the time we came back home, Renee had slept, may be preparing for the next busy day. We again left early in the next morning for ferry before she woke up. So we did not meet her at all even though we had been staying in her house. It was to our surprise that the Kiwis (This is how the New Zealander call themselves) trust us so much. 
Our beautiful room in Wellington
Beside the above prepared story, please click here to go to My related album t share for more pictures. Note that the shared posts there is in Chinese though.

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