Geysers and Gliders... and things that go "moo"
Taupo Travel Blog› entry 30 of 40 › view all entries
Up until 4:00 pm today, cows were to take center stage in today's blog... more on that later.
This morning we headed to an extraordinarily active geothermal area north of downtown Taupo. I don't have the place's name handy, but it was another Maori name. (I would venture a guess that 80% of the place names on the North Island are Maori in origin. Miller, Sheldon, and I have ceased our futile and slightly embarrassing attempts to pronounce them.) To recount the thirty or so different features we encountered would take a long time. In sum, we saw gurling mudpots (that resemble thick paint with air bubbles being forced through it), an active geyser that shot significantly high into the crisp late autumn sky, hot water pools of brilliant hues (including blues, green, oranges, and yellows), sulfur mounds, cascades that spewed steaming water down the sides of hills, fumaroles that hissed as hot gases escaped the ground below.
But the sites were beautiful and made even more so by the winter frost resting on the vegetation and the ground. In the United States, you have to travel to one specific corner of the nation to see such geothermal activity. In New Zealand, a heaping helping of the North Island is a geothermal playground.
After lunch at the park, we drove through the countryside to another hot spot, pardon the pun, which was horrifically overpriced and small in comparison.
We journeyed with the cows for about 10 minutes... and a hilarious ten minutes it was. The cows seemed udderly... er, utterly unfazed by our presence. At one point, one particularly healthy cow jogged right up to the passenger windows and looked in at us, as if to ask why we weren't exercising, too.
That in and of itself would have made our day... until, while we were walking in a park, Sheldon saw two glider planes high above the Taupo sky. Like three crazy men, we sped through the valley in a search for the airport. As we approached it, one of the gliders landed... and it wasn't long thereafter that Sheldon climbed into the cockpit of one of those suckers and began his ascent.
I'll let him post about that later. He's still very giddy and high thanks to a significant infusion of adrenaline!
We're having trouble posting our pix. We just can't find a compatible internet lounge. So stay tuned. More coming soon... I hope! :)