Having met Mum and Peter at Auckland airport, we picked up the hire car and set off on the first leg of our trip. Oh what a feeling to finally be going travelling!! We only had a short drive to Hamilton, our first port of call, to give the jet lagged ones time to recover. Not much to say about Hamilton, it seemed to be a nice enough town, we weren't really there long enough to really comment.
Next day, all ready and raring to go, we set off for Rotorua which is renowned for having the most energetic thermal activity in the country with bubbling mud pools, gurgling hot springs, and gushing geysers, and of course the evil 'eggy' smell that lingers around! First stop was a dip in the hot thermal pools which had a lovely location right on the edge of Lake Rotorua. Very relaxing but almost too hot at 40'C to sit in too long! Later on that day we decided to experience a traditional maori evening and enjoyed a great show full of maori singing, dancing and weaponry displays followed by a meal prepared in a hangi (cooked in an earth oven).
Next day being able to stand the smell no longer we headed off for Taupo where we planned to stay for a few days (weather dependant)! On route though we stopped off at Wai-O-Tapu Wonderland which was fascinating - lots of bubbling mud pools, a large boiling Champagne Pool, craters, blow holes, colourful mineral terrraces, and the Lady Knox Geyser which erupts everyday at 10.15am (with a little assistance from the park staff and some organic soap type substance!!!).