5 April 2016
Today we leave Rotorua and make our way to Palmerston North for an overnight. Rotorua is full of geothermal vents that release steam. Everywhere you go there is a place that steam is coming up through the ground and the faint smell of sulfur – so trippy! On our way out of town we stopped at Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland. It has incredible mud pools and craters with sulfur water and multi-colored mineral deposits. The mud pools here have HUGE mud bubbles, sometimes sounding like someone threw a large rock into the muddy lake. The “Devils Bathtub” truely is bright lime greenl! The water bubbles in from another pool and keeps the sulfur stirred into the water. It was overcast when we were there but the guide said when the sun is out it looks positively radioactive!
Something to keep in mind if you are visiting a thermal park where there is steamy sulfur; if you are wearing jewelry that you don’t want covered in a lovely dark patina, you should remove it. We had a heck of a time cleaning up Lynnette’s necklace!
We had some beautiful scenery on the way to Palmerston North. As the sun got low in the sky the native grasses were illuminated and the sky dramatic. The road was narrow and windy with nowhere to pull off , so we will have to remember how it looked – sadly no photos.
By the way, the geniuses at Google are our heros! Using offline maps with the GPS on our phone has made navigation a breeze. After our first day, once in our hotel with Internet access, I downloaded the maps of the areas on the north island that we would be visiting. We haven’t been lost since! Technology is wonderful!
The hotel and the proprietors of Aubyn Court Motel where we stayed the night were lovely and there was a washer/dryer there so we have clean cloths! Also a huge jetted bath tub making me very happy! The accent of the man who checked us in was quite pronounced and not at all New Zealand. He is from the Perth area in lovely Scotland!
John Cleese calls Palmerston North “the suicide capital of New Zealand” and says, “If you wish to kill yourself but lack the courage to, I think a visit to Palmerston North will do the trick.” It is a small town to be sure (although not so small by New Zealand standards; there IS a stop light here!) but seems to have much more charm than Bakersfield Ca where I am originally from. Mr. Cleese has likely not been to Bakersfield!
6 April 2016
Palmerston North to Wellington today where we will be staying with Lynnette’s family for a few days. En route we stopped and visited with John and Marita Baker, extended family of Lynnette. What gracious people, it was the highlight of our trip! We sat on their lovely back patio for a visit and lunch.
Once in Wellington we stopped first at Bizzy and Hamish’s house for a visit with Bizzy and Friday and then on then on to Lindsey and Andrew Baker’s where we will be staying while in Wellington.