Technically the next day was a 'travel day', but we made the most of the stunning scenery by calling in at Lake Taupo and Orakei Korako on the way.
The weather was gorgeous, as hot as any summers day in the UK, and typically when this happens Jason starts to crave golf. There was a driving range area at Lake Taupo where if you got a hole in one you won $10000... but unfortunately he didn't win despite hitting the float a few times. I think he enjoyed having a golf club in his hands again and I'm pretty sure this won't be the last I hear of playing golf in New Zealand (especially as you pass a course every few kilometres).
We drove up to Huka Falls to view the waterfall there... spectacular! 220,000 litres of water flow through it every minute. The water is crystal clear and bubbling in the sunlight. If we had more time I would have liked to take the Waikato riverside walk all the way from Taupo town to the falls, instead we walked a small section of it and stopped for a picnic along the way.
On the way back we managed to see one of the jet boats that speed up the river to view the falls. This would be something I'd like to do at some point... maybe Queenstown (we'll see if we have enough pennies?!)
The land between Taupo and Rotorua is bubbling with volcanic activity and we were informed that Orakei Korako is the best place to see the silica terraces, geysers and sulphur mud pools in New Zealand. As you park your car you're met with a beautiful view of Orakei Lake and the steaming terraces.
You catch a short boat across the lake and then you're left to explore the area via a well preserved walkway. When I asked if it was possible to dip in the hot pools I was virtually laughed out of the visitor centre... "DO NOT STRAY FROM THE PATH, IT'S EXTREMELY DANGEROUS!" Hhhmmm, I now see why, the temperatures reach boiling.
We were lucky and caught one of the geysers erupting with hot water and firing it into the air.
Dad did not take to the sulphur eggy smell and needed a minute to take in the views of the lake instead.
Next stop... Rotorua.