With our Van still sadly out of commission we decided to rent a little booter for the weekend. After calling around we managed to get one for $15 a day, which was the best deal by far, from Ace Rentals on The Strand in Auckland. Everyone’s advice was to head out and see Lake Taupo and Rotorua because it’s beautiful and not so busy on the off season. So off we went!
It was an amazing drive up to Taupo. Miles and miles of winding hilly roads. It rained off an on again, creating rainbows stretching from one coast to the other over mountain tops. We got excited over every animal we came across. We stopped in some small towns for a pie and coffee, and took advantage of the picturesque rest points on the road side every so often.
We made it into Taupo just before dark. We knew we were close when we could see huge plumes of steam pouring out of the hills around us. Theres a lot of thermal activity in this neck of the woods, and it made for a very atmospheric drive. We chose a hotel that boasted a thermal pool in every room for only $80! When we pulled in we found a derelict bar blasting honky tonk music through the open windows. It smelled of beer, piss and moss. Inside was a bunch of grizzly looking trucker dudes drinking and playing poker. It was like the beginning of a hill-billy horror movie… Bad Sign #1. However, we got our keys and drove out to the cabin we’d be staying in. The price was more like $110 but you got 2 floors and it slept up to 7 people. It had a nice kitchenette and a hot tub out back. I was instructed to wait in the car while CB disposed of the unfortunate mouse who had died in it though. Bad Sign #2… but what the hell, its the off season, it’s just a mouse! We had a fun evening making dinner and hanging out in the luke-warm hot tub, drinking Scrumpy and watching crappy TV.
I was awakened at 6am by a cockroach crawling into my mouth… screaming like a banshee I jumped out of bed and turned on the lights to see DOZENS OF COCKROACHES ALL OVER EVERYTHING! Trying to crawl under the sheets with us, hiding under the computer for warmth. UGH. UNCLEAN. All morning I kept wiping my mouth in case there was a cockroach there.. Bleugh. Anyway, Spa Motel in Taupo… I wouldn’t recommend it.
We got on the road straight away and what came next not only made up for the unpleasant morning, but pretty much made my entire life worth living!
We stopped for this sign that promised a Thermal Walk just off the highway. We drove through the woods and into the clearing full of llamas! Just free out in the open! There was a small cottage there, and inside a kooky old guy sold us tickets to the walk for $10 each. A short 15 minute walk and a longer, 30 minute walk. We did the 15 minute walk first and it was beyond beautiful. The walk took you through dense vegetation and over rickety little bridges to a boiling hot thermal river. The clay was orange, with ribbons of yellow, bright red and blue. Everywhere the air was thick and warm and smelled of boiled eggs. Fantails flew from bush to bush and there was butterflies everywhere. It was pretty magic.
On the longer 30 minute walk, WE FOUND A PIG! She led us all the way around the track, managing to keep up when we had to get up slippery muddy passes. It was AWESOME! He would race between CB and I, and if we got off the track he’d nibble our boots. All along the trail there was mushrooms with little pig snout shaped bites out of them. For an entire hour we got to run around the forest with a pig friend. It was the best hour, of my life.
We took a ton of pictures but most of them were of me running around with a lunatic grin on my face with a blurry pig in front of me, so Ill save those for myself.
I miss that pig.