Looking out at the view of the hills this morning, we could see wisps of white steam highlighted against the dark green foliage of the hill cover. This is a thermal area of New Zealand, and steam was escaping through fumaroles in the hill. There is plenty of thermal activity going on right around this region.
Leaving the escaping steam behind we drove out of Turangi and skirted the west side of lake Taupo. As we weren’t in any great hurry, we decided to take the longer rural route instead of travelling along the main road. We passed rolling farmland, which was replaced by pine plantations. We noticed plenty of farmland tilled and ready to be planted with young pine trees. The country changed again as we drove past massive rocky outcrops and shear cliffs, before changing again into rolling Waikato farmlands. All along these back country road we noticed black and white flags flying from isolated farmhouses as the owners showed their allegiance to the All Blacks during the Rugby World Cup. We stopped at beautiful Lake Maraetai for lunch, and what a magical place this is. We plan to come back here on our trip home and stay a night or two. The lake was calm, and we saw a little shag diving for, and catching his lunch.
There is a paddle steamer on the lake available for a spot of sightseeing – perhaps we can take a trip on our return. A couple of chatty locals assured us that this trip is quite reasonably priced.
After our nice relaxing lunch it was back into the car and keep heading north. We were spending the night at “The Creamery”, Ohaupo, a lovely quiet rural property. We were the only ones camping here, so had the whole place to ourselves.