Sunny days, sweepin’ the clouds awaaaaaaay

I’m getting used to not seeing many clouds during the day. Bright blue skies, light southerly breeze (unfortunately keeping the region a bit colder than usual), and plentiful sunshine. Today, upon the suggestion of my host, I took a bit of a drive away from the coast and headed inland. I headed to the Puketi Forest. It’s the same place that I visited the Kauri trees on my way up to Cape Reinga last week.

I headed off around 3pm and took some back roads. Along the way, there was a delay due to cow crossing. Cows have right of way on the dirt roads here. Or at least, I imagine they do.

After passing the cacophony of walking steaks, I continued on my way to the forest. I parked in one of the campsites available for use. Looked like a great spot when it warms a bit more for me to stay – spot for a camp fire, and lots of free chopped wood was in a covered shed nearby. All in all, I look forward to sleeping in areas like that. Costs all of $7NZD per night, and some are free.

The forest was pretty dense once the walk began – Lots of tall trees and foliage. So while there was plentiful sun, I walked in the shade for about an hour.

I did come across some more Kauri trees, but otherwise the walk wasn’t overly remarkable. A good 60 minutes of hiking for exercise still, just not as picturesque as past hikes have been. I eventually made it back to my car and headed south to my next destination – natural mud hot springs.

After disappointments in Costa Rica and Ecuador regarding hot springs (they were very touristy and pretty much multiple giant swimming pools of various temperature), I was looking forward to these springs – it was very much out of the way, not a touristy spot and fairly undeveloped still.

I was there in the evening and there were only 3 other people here, scattered amongst about 10 different baths. They varied in temperature from about 20C all the way up to 45C. The wooden steps lead you down into water and mud, and bubbles. It was very relaxing – the bubbles are primarily hydrogen sulphide, so it gives off the very identifiable smell (of rotten eggs). And thankfully, unlike in Costa Rica, very rustic and basic (and cost $5NZD). On the downside, since it’s remote and basic, the cold shower afterward was a bit…chilly. 🙂

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