Sunday, November 18, 2007

From Stinky to Sublime

With the new van we were able to visit two of New Zealand's more famous sites. First Rotarua... If you were a person, let's say me, and could eliminate one sense for a short period of time, truly rid yourself of it, you should destroy your sense of smell for a stay in Rotarua. The town is situated among a collection of hot springs that smell like the worst combination of sewage plant and rotton eggs. Yeah, that bad. But apart from the gagging, the place is truly amazing. Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland combined bubbling pools of mud with surreal bright yellow and green springs. Walking across a boardwalk that is suspended above a thin crust that itself is suspended over a bubbling cauldren was pretty thrilling.

From there we jetted on to Tongariro National Forest. In every ranking we have seen, the Tongariro Alpine Crossing (a 2 day track) is ranked at the top. It is easy to see why. While we couldn't do the full track, we stitched together a few hikes that approximated the experience and were amazed by the waterfulls, thick bush, and subalpine desert conditions that existed side by side.


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