Sailing the high seas and looking for geysers
31.03.2016 - 02.04.2016
Thursday 31st March -
We started with an early breakfast overlooking Picton Harbour before boarding the Interislander Ferry for the North Island.
It was a lovely clear calm day so our crossing was very smooth.
Our sister ship - the other Interislander Ferry going North to South.
On board we enjoyed the company of Linda Michie who is a single female from Scotland riding on her own around New Zealand - very brave.
We arrived at Wellington Harbour about 2pm, ready for a long ride in the afternoon to Ohakune. The first part was rather boring with lots of traffic however when we left the main highway and headed East toward Ohakune the fun began, brilliant winding road, amazing rugged scenery straight out of Lord of the Rings. We arrived at Ohakune quite late so we just checked in and made a dash for the The Cyrprus Tree Restaurant. Dinner exceeded all expectations for a small town. Food was amazing, full stomachs and back home to bed.
Next morning (Friday 1st April) we left Ohakune early in the morning - very chilly riding, our fingers were frozen within the first half hour.
We made a brief stop at Whanaku for fuel and then on to Rotorua for lunch and visit the Whakarewa Valley Thermal Springs on the outskirts of Rotorua. This is an amazing experience. Water in the deeper part of the geothermal system is under great pressure so can reach temperatures of over 300 degrees.
This is the largest active Geyser in the Southern Hemisphere emitting a strong Sulphur smell which is the result of Hydrogen sulphide in the atmosphere released as a result of geothermal activity. Believe me you can smell it - very strong !!
The famous Steam Oven used for steam cooking.
Pools of water are boiling due to the heat.
Mud pools are bubbling and popping - sounding rather like a human with a very upset stomach !
Rotorua is known as the heartland of Maori culture in New Zealand. There is a mini village on display at the Springs.
Wood carvers are working on a project as Memorial to World War 1 victims using 4500 year old Kauri Tree.
The famous Maori Haka -
The famous New Zealand Silver Fern (actually green with silver or white underneath)
Just as the rain started again we made our way to our Motel in time for a walk around Rotorua and prepare ourselves for Dinner.
Tonight we are attending a traditional Maori Hungi and Maori dance performance including the famous Haka !
Aitch was invited up on stage as Chief for the night - a great honour. Very important lesson learnt - 2 touches of the nose equals sharing life breath and now friends - 3 touches and you are married - Aitch was very very careful to only touch twice.
Later he was invited up again with Steve and some Korean visitors to learn the Haka - hilarious!!
End of a very entertaining day.
Today (Saturday 2nd) we were very glad to be leaving Rotorua - the smell is awful - feels like you are going to choke on it !!
My advice to anybody thinking of visiting is to do that, and stay somewhere else !!
It was raining and looking very gloomy on the horizon - not ideal riding conditions.
We stopped for morning tea at the Katikati bakery, a welcome break from the inclement weather. Fanny was pleased to see us however she never said much.
Moving on we experienced a truly horrible road, newly laid smooth tar (without gravel) became very slippery in the wet. All riders experienced difficulties and were not happy. Very dangerous conditions. It is shame as the ride would have been spectacular with amazing scenery but we couldn't take our eyes of the road.
Finally the sun came out as we were near Coromandel Town.
The view towards Wyuna Bay and Coromandel Town.
The road has some serious bends - great riding now its dry.
The Harbour View Motel - great view.
We walked into town for a look around and to collect some supplies for dinner on the balcony.
Sailing ship moored in the harbour!
One of the locals popping into town for a few things.
Amazing find in the Supermarket - and we are in the heart of Kiwi Fruit country - we were talking to a man this morning at the Bakery and he was telling us the area is thriving due to the Kiwi Fruit Industry !!!
And the sun sets gracefully as we watch from our balcony sipping a glass of red - another great day on the road.