Danny Yee >> Travelogues >> New Zealand: Coromandel, Central Plateau, Waikato

Tauranga, Orakei Korako, Taupo

We got into Tauranga around 6.30pm and found lodging in the Fountain Court Motel. We went for a walk out onto the bridge, watching the birds on the old bridge pylons and in the trees, and then headed into town. Lots of shops were still open, including a Browsers' Books, and we found somewhere a little posh ($50 for two) for dinner. Afterwards we drove out to Mt Maunganui, where we didn't go swimming in the pool.

Friday 18th February

We went for a walk on the bridge again and then drove back into town, where we decided against doing a "swim with the dolphins" trip and looked at camping and clothes stores. I bought a secondhand copy of Angela Carter's American Ghosts and Old World Wonders from a library disposal.

In Rotorua we bought food for lunch and ate it by the lake, and had a quick look at some shops, but otherwise didn't linger.

Our major stop was at Orakei Korako geothermal park. Here a ferry takes you across a lake to a landscape full of steamholes, hot water, coloured algae, and bubbling mud. (Drive mode on the DSLR proved useful when trying to photograph this.) There's also a cave.

bubbling mud
Orakei Korako landscape
geothermal landscape at Orakei Korako
We paid $22 each to get into Orakei Korako. Current prices ($34 as of 2009) can be found on their website.
more bubbling mud

the last caravan in Taupo
We got to Taupo at 6.30pm to find all the hotels were full, because there was a big run being held the following day. We drove backwards and forwards, unable to find anything except tent sites.
The moral of the story is that on Friday and Saturday nights it's a good idea to book accommodation in advance!

We were getting desperate, but eventually we found a tiny motorcamp a kilometre off the main road, near the power station, which had a run-down caravan with no linen and a wood-heated shower. There were alpaca and peacocks, rabbits, chickens, etc. wandering around and it was very homely.

We drove into Taupo for dinner, I tried to take time-lapse photos of the moon through the clouds, without much success. It was cold overnight in the caravan.

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