D&K's Aussie Adventure travel blog

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Orakei Korako – Ohakune Jan 4-6

Forging South from Rotorura we decide to take a side trip to little known Orakei Korako about an hour north of Taupo ( for those who are enthusiastically googling our journey). This was a spectacular stop. A short boat transfer across long narrow Lake Ohakuri, which sported a deep turquoise against dark green foliage, and we arrive to a geo thermal wonderland. In sharp contrast to hell’s Gate this place had sites named Artist’s Palette and Golden Fleece. I was speechless at times (no wisecracks please), as we eagerly explored the boiling pools , flowing mineral beds, geysers, and an amazing cave. This as a place you must see at least once in your life. Continuing south we passed through Taupo, a beautiful resort city built around volcanic crater filled LakeTaupo. It reminded us so much of Kelowna, mountainous, huge lake surrounded by beautiful homes, cafes, speeding water toys. Eager to get out of the throng of summer break vacationers we drove straight through. South via Turangi and suddenly we are on a moonscape. We’re on the “Desert Highway” . Dry terra cotta colored soil, scrub brush, mini “hoodoos” such a contrast in a short distance. Even more amazing, towering in the distance is, Mount Ngauruhoe, and further in the distance, for all you Lord of The Rings, fans, Mount Doom. We had entered Morador, Middle Earth. Using our “Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook” we decided on some must see locations in the area. We headed towards the small town of Ohakune to check into our next Top 10 Holiday Park . This park was primo. Nestled near a rushing stream our so-called “Gypsy Cabin” was unique in design and function. To top it off the central washroom building had timed heat lamps, heated towel bars, blow dryers, spotlessly clean, and beautiful wood counters. All this for $45Can a night!! Feeling good about the day we decide to treat ourselves to supper out. Kev scouted out a place advertising a rump steak special with lovely side dishes of fries and cole slaw, and fried egg on top and one free beer or glass of wine. Ever the optimist, I think to myself, “How bad can rump steak be?” Well you guessed it. We could have strapped those steaks to our feet and called them jandels (Kiwi version of sandals) and walked through the boiling mud of Hell’s Gate without an injury. Should have guessed it when we went in and the whole bar was decorated with imported American West chic – headdresses, guns, and the fact they don’t serve jugs of beer anymore due to …pause… problems with patrons and over consumption. Back to our Gypsy cabin to nurse our aching bellies and rest up for the big explore to Mount Doom.

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