One thing that’s really important when traveling is the ability/willingness to be flexible when your plans fall through. For example, the plan for today was that I’d get up and go for a run, then we’d spend a day doing all sorts of outdoorsy things.
The reality is that it started raining last night and hasn’t stopped since. We knew this could be a possibility while here in Kiwi-land, so we had rain coats in our suitcases, just in case.
While I’m not opposed to running in the rain, I am opposed to it if I’m living in a camper with no way of drying my sodden clothes afterward. And as for our outdoorsy activities, we were game to be outside, but one of our plans involved riding a jet boat, which was cancelled since the boat pilots didn’t have great visibility.
So, on to other ideas…
The jet boat ride was supposed to take us up the Waikato River from Lake Taupo to the base of Huka Falls. After a leisurely morning in the camper, we decided to drive to the falls anyway and take a look.
After that, we went back to the camper and fixed lunch — grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken noodle soup, and apple-feijoa juice. Yum. After lunch, some chocolate for extra sustenance. (I’ll write a Chocomania post at the end of our travels.)
Properly fortified, we then visited Craters of the Moon, which is a geothermal site. New Zealand lies along the confluence of two major fault lines, which has resulted in the North Island having lots of geothermal activity — volcanic vents, geysers, hot springs, etc. — and of course the eruption last week at Mount Tongariro. The South Island tends to have a lot of earthquakes, such as the massive earthquake that caused so much damage to Christchurch last year. It’s impossible to drive any distance in the Taupo Volcanic Zone on the North Island and not see plumes of steam coming out of the ground. They’re everywhere.
Craters of the Moon has dozens and dozens of hydrothermal eruptions craters, as well as steam vents that are constantly active. It’s a rather otherworldly place, especially on an overcast, rainy day.
We had a really nice walk, during which, the rain more or less let up. For a little while. Then it started up again.
After that, we hopped back into Jenwheeled and headed northward. We drove through valleys and over mountains, saw about three billion sheep, had to navigate around two dogs that thought they owned the road, and watched Mother Nature change her mind about the weather (sun vs. rain) every sixty seconds or so.
Tomorrow, we have another adventure planned, then we’ll drive back to Auckland, have dinner with a friend, and then camp one last night.