After looking for what feels like 20 minutes, you get up and walk away, defeated. You assume the remote tossed itself out a window, grew legs and walked away, someone came in and stole it and nothing else, SOMETHING. Because the remote is nowhere to be found. Yet you know it should be there. And then it shows up in plain site next time you go to watch TV. That sort of describes the search for my camera memory card.
There are several things that New Zealanders have as part of their life that really could enhance life in Canada if we adopted them. And the same can be said the other way. Here is what I’ve found so far.
After a quick stop for a night in Napier I’m back in Taupo, waiting for the rains to clear. It’s rained now for 5 days straight – ever since I got here on Wednesday. I’m waiting because I want to do the Tongariro Circuit, and there isn’t much else left I want to do on the North Island anyways. So here I sit, waiting. Tuesday I should start hiking – I’ve already made my hut bookings for that day, based on a very favourable forecast next week. Naturally, that means lots of others have as well. I won’t be alone this time in a hut, they will likely be full when I make my stops for the night!
And so I wait. It’s Sunday here now, with a good forecast for weather tomorrow I should at least get some walking done tomorrow to get my legs ready for another 40+km of hiking.
In New Zealand, a series of 9 walks stand above the rest in stature. They are classified as ‘Great Walks’, and are New Zealand’s pride and joy when it comes to hiking. All of them are multi-day treks, and one is actually a kayak/canoe trip instead of an actual walk. 3 are on the North Island, 5 are on the South Island, and the 9th is on New Zealand’s 3rd island, Stewart Island. I touched on one already, the Tongariro Northern Circuit, when I hiked to Tongariro Crossing – the Circuit incorporates the crossing as part of a 3-4 day hike. All that being said, my direction was east, not south, as I went to the oft forgotten Lake Waikaremoana track for my first multi-day hike.
Having abseiled down some waterfalls, I might as well raft over others now. Certainly nothing like the monstrous 80m+ high waterfalls I rappelled down, but at 7 meters, the Kaituna River hosts the largest commercially rafted waterfall in the world. And you actually have a series of waterfalls through the whole trip. Even though I’ve rafted twice, I’ve never done waterfalls or a Class 5 before. This trip would encompass both.
The first set of waterfalls are sort of the ‘trial’ before getting to the big one. They still are plenty intimidating once you get to them, both being a few meters high.
Over the first falls we went. After lining the raft up we pretty much just hold on. I’m in the front left spot of the boat.
Before Aura left to continue her journey southward, we had one final activity to try together. Zorbing.
While you can do ‘Zorbing’ in a great many places around the world now, New Zealand, and more specifically, Rotorua, was the birthplace. And if you don’t know what Zorbing is – picture a human in a giant hamster ball rolling down a hill. That’s pretty much exactly what it is. It’s as silly and as fun as it sounds.
After the first small taste of volcanic activity in Rotorua, the next day Aura and I headed 30 minutes south of the town to the Wai-O-Tapu geothermal reserve, which has numerous volcanic lakes and pools, and on top of that, an active geyser. This was obviously a tourist area once we got here. I felt like I was at Sea World waiting for the whale show.
The interesting thing with Rotorua is that signs of volcanic activity are everywhere. Vapourous hot pools abound, with just a short (less than 5 minutes) walk takes you to several spots with water hot enough to need safety barriers.
First I started with Sulphur point, a place where numerous birds come to nest in the warm water area.
The seagulls were especially plentiful here. And protective of their area. Far less intimidating than magpies though.