Monday, April 06, 2009

Thermal Valley


We were up before sunrise--much earlier than I usually get up but the mist rising over the ocean and river in Whangamata presented some interesting photo ops. We wind our way down to Taupo on a 2 lane highway (4 lanes are nonexistent), and make a stop in Rotorua, a town of sulphur hot springs and thermal vents. First things first, and our Fodor guide took us to the city centre. Relish, a small cafe that serves a twice cooked, roasted then braised lamb shanks in gravy with shitake mushrooms over a bed of kamura mash. It was so delicious I was ready to lick the plate clean. Coffee choices - Long dark coffee (a bit diluted) vs short dark (expresso) vs American coffee vs white (full of evaporated milk). The waitress was incredulous that Ray could eat a full order of 2 huge shanks and kept looking at him and laughing, and wondering where he was putting it all. I told her he hadn't eaten in days! At the Watupoa Thermal Area, hot springs of various colors delighted this photographer. There are beautiful turquoise and copper colored pools and waterfalls of bright lime green deposits. We were practically chased out of the place at 5pm as I was definitely not ready to leave. Ray is excited about meeting the fly fishing guide tomorrow and being locked in at the thermal park overnight would be a definite disappointment! Oh no, rain is forecasted for tomorrow--he better not get rained out!

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