Saturday, March 17, 2012

Day 2 in NZ: from Ohakune to Taupo

After leaving Ohakune, we headed for Tongariro National Park on Day 2 of our adventure in New Zealand.

We stopped for lunch at a town actually called National Park.  Obviously hungry, only did we notice the giant kiwi sculpture on our way out.  Some artist wired bunch of branches together to recreate the national symbol!   Even though we did not see any kiwi in real life during our trip (Kiwi are shy and usually nocturnal. They are also endangered), their images are practically everywhere. We even sent a fluffy toy one to my mother-in-law in Israel.

We continued to drive northeast and visited a Maori homestead by Lake Rotoaira.  The Maori people lived there certainly picked a very beautiful spot to build their home: Mt Tongariro is just on the other side of the lake.  Imagine you wake up in the morning, and look out of your window and this is the view...

Technically speaking, the lake is not part of the National park because it is privately owned.  But the homestead was open to the public and we saw a big group of people just packing up after their picnic. 

We stayed at Clearwater Motor Lodge in Taupo for the night.  The lodge is literally on the edge of Lake Taupo, the largest lake in the country.  Our room has a view of the lake and even better, we can appreciate the natural beauty of it when soaking in the jacuzzi in our room.  The water in the lake in warm, or should I say, pleasantly hot to touch due to hydrothermal activities.  In fact, the next morning, we saw steam floating over the water--can you see the white steam In the picture?  Mr Hippo was enjoying his morning steaming treatment...

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