I got picked up by the Thermal Land Shuttle service which not only takes you to the NZ Riverjet base but also to Waiotapu, its mud pools and its geyser. The last two places were also the spots where the tour took me. At the mud pools we had about 15 minutes to walk around and to have a look at the large mud pools. There was a little viewing point and some information signs which helped gaining an overview. After this short stop the shuttle took us to the Lady Knox Geysir, which erupts everyday around 10.15am. This is mostly because the staff of Waiotapu throws something into the geyser’s mouth, which leads to a mixing of the hold and cold water layers beneath which creates the eruption.
The little arena which was created around the geyser was really crowded and everyone was waiting for the geyser to do something. On the one hand, I was pretty disappointed when a man turned up telling us that they throw something into the geyser to cause the eruption. On the other hand, this little presentation was better than just watching the geyser erupt because I learned about its history.
It was named after Lady Constance Knox, the second daughter of Uchter Knox, 15th Governor of New Zealand. Because the geyser was discovered early in the 20th century, it has no Māori name, unlike almost every other thermal feature in New Zealand
In 1901 the first open prison in New Zealand was established whose prisoners discovered the clearing in which the geyser is situated. Since they wanted to wash their clothes they added soap to the water and discovered that the spring could be made to erupt that way.
After everyone had taken their pictures the shuttle moved on and took me to the NZ Riverjet base where I was cordially welcomed. I put on my bikini, a safety jacket and some clogs to prepare for the tour. Our boat driver welcomed us on board and explained a little about the Waikato river and our tour.
The weather was beautiful and on our way to the hidden valley we didn’t speed up, so we could enjoy our surrounding nature. Our boat driver told us about the Tui bird and made it repeat his whistle. We passed a cave high up in a cliff where enemies of the Maori where once burned when they tried to conquer the Maori village.
When we arrived at the Orakei Korako the group was split into two. The one group had an hour time to explore the valley and eat lunch there as well. The other six of us took the jet boat to a hidden hot pool which is fed by two stunning and warm waterfalls. To get there you have to squeeze in between /through rocks and walk/swim through a river, which fortunately was a hot stream. At the end of the river we arrived at the hot pools, enjoyed ourselves and got a massage under the waterfalls. Our boat driver and guide told us how he discovered this spot by accident. I wish I had an amazing place like that next door. On our way back we picked up the rest of the group and then finally the jetboat tour really started. The boat speeded up splashed us and turned almost 360 degrees so we had no other choice than holding onto the handlebars. Finally the boat earned its title jet boat. The last spin was pictured by a photographer, whose pictures you could buy on CD or get them printed out.
I was so happy, when two girls I met at the tour offered me to take me to Taupo in their car.
I Taupo I stayed at the Taupo Urban Retreat Lodge, a hostel located pretty in the center of the town. The lodge is not only a hostel but also the cheapest bar in Taupo.
I wandered around and explored Taupo a little. I discovered some beautiful rose gardens and was overwhelmed by the view over Lake Taupo.