We are currently staying at my Aunt Ros and Uncle Tony’s house hear Taupo which is where we spent a slightly odd-feeling Christmas in the sun. Christmas is strange over here, there aren’t the usual triggers that we get at home – decorations everywhere, Christmas shopping, going home to see family and friends and the cold weather! We have found ourselves having to remind ourselves that it is Christmas rather than having Christmas all around us. I also think for the first time that I realised how much I am going to miss my family and friends after hearing of social gatherings and news from them all. I also had the realisation that we’ll not be home for a very long time.
That said we have had a very enjoyable time here – Ros and Tony could not have done more to make us feel welcome, we’ve certainly been well fed too! An honourable mention must go to Ros’s home-made coffee ice cream which must rank among some of the best that I have ever tasted! Since arriving here we have been for a few walks, been shown around the local area and also done a lot of relaxing at home with a beer or a wine interspersed with the comings and goings of local children to the house asking for Tony’s help in fixing bikes or to get some lemons from their tree for parents or just to wish them a merry Christmas – it can get quite tiring just watching them!
The highlight of my time here so far has to be the Boxing day bungee jump that did yesterday – it was a totally awesome experience! I was shitting it beforehand at the prospect of leaping off a platform 154feet above the river below and more than once I was questioning my own sanity in choosing to do it; I just made sure that I didn’t look down! It wasn’t very busy so I could jump right away and I went straight out onto the platform where my legs got shackled to the rope and, after having declined the offer to have my head dipped in the water, I was instructed to stand on the edge and after the jump master said ‘1… 2… 3… BUNGEE!!!’ I was to jump. I duly did as I was told and started accelerating toward the water below – it was such an amzing buzz! Your head is telling you that you are plummetting towards terra-firma at a scarily fast rate even though you know that you’re attached to the bungy – it’s an amazing adrenaline rush! After the first bounce I was just laughing like a hyena until the boat came to pick me up – it was so much fun, I really want to do it again!
On the way down to Ros & Tony’s we had stopped off at Kerosene Creek which is a little river with hot water – gorgeous to bathe in and made our heads go very light-headed. A bloke in the car park gave us a map to some hot waterfalls nearby so we went to look at them too, but came back to spend the night at Kerosene creek, the plan being to take a morning dip in the creek before the hordes of people arrived later in the day. We had settled down for the night and had started tucking into the usual bottle of wine when the bloke who had given us the map earlier turned up again in his car. I had thought it a little odd when he didn’t acknowledge me when I waved to him but he then came up to our window, I assumed to say hi. He had actually come to warn us not to park there as “it’s very dangerous”, “people get beaten up here”, “you’ll get all your stuff nicked” and “it’s not dangerous in the car park 100 metres up the road”! Now we didn’t for a moment believe him – people don’t generally go around randomly beating people up and an empty car is far easier target for stealing than an occupied one. We reckon that he resented people visiting what he considered to be his creek and that the map he gave us earlier was an attempt to get us away from his creek and so it followed that his dire warnings of impending danger to ourselves were another ruse to get us to move on. However ever false the warnings we still took it as a threat to ourselves and got out of there as soon as we could – the bloke was a nutter and the more distance we could put between him and us the better! Fortunately I had only had a glass of wine so was fine to drive. We eventually found a picnic area 24km down the road that, boy racers having dodgy meetings in the picnic area aside, was a very pleasant place to camp and was refreshingly free of nutters!
Also worthy of mention is the Orakei Korako geothermal area that we stopped off at on the way to Taupo. This is without a doubt the best geothermal area that we have yet seen, just take a look at some of our photos of it – the brilliant colours and land-forms were just awesome! There was a pond at the bottom of a cave where the water was so clear and still that you couldn’t see where the pond stopped and the land began, it really was cool!
That’s all for now – we’re going to attempt the Tongariro crossing tomorrow and plan to head to Napier or Palmerston North for New Year.
Hope everyone had a good Christmas and we wish you all a happy new year!