Today is a mixed day. We have decided to do the river rapids this morning. We wanted to kayak to the carvings but it was cancelled, the winds were too high 😦
We wandered down to the lake to take a look and take some photos, beautiful lake that is so big you can’t see the other side! The land on the other side however, is a snow topped mountain! Madness!
We decided to drive up to the river early, and have lunch in our groovy mobile home! We had to take the kettle into their reception to boil it, but they didn’t mind! It’s so cool that you can take your living room with you everywhere!
Waikato river rapids
After being suited up with life jackets, and being asked whether we wanted a dry coat (of course not!) it was just us and one other guy on this rapids ride. Then two others appeared and suited up to the nines with coats and the works. Turns out they were the council, here to check how the operators were behaving. I think for that purpose we perhaps got a bit extra in our ride, and extra super soaked as the boat driver repeatedly did 360 spins to attempt to get the woman from the council as wet as possible!
It was an 8 litre jet boat, which sucks in and spits out water to power itself. It has no brakes, therefore they do a 360 spin to stop, at varying speeds but always a variety of rapid! We first went up to the dam, where they were just opening the flood gates, for their one of three times a day. The old gorge is still there, and the Maori asked them to keep the old river running, so they open the flood gates and release 11 thousand litres 3 times a day. It filters down into the river right after the power station, therefore keeping the businessmen happy and the Maori happy.
Then we motored down to some rapids down stream. The boat went so fast that had you not got some kind of glasses on you couldn’t see a thing (trust me I tried to take the sunglasses off!) there was a section of rapids that he motored up and down and up and down several times, while a man standing on a rocky outcrop took some photos. You are guaranteed to buy them because they wouldn’t let you take any kind of camera yourself! Each change of direction was of course a 360 turn, as he iced to get the lady from the council really wet. The man from the council sat on the other end of the same seat thought it was hilarious! We did say to him we didn’t know how he did such an awful job! 😉
The trip ended with another rapid ride up to the dam. The creek was now almost dry. Amazing contrast in water flow, now the dam was shut again.
It was great fun, glad we did it. Photos to follow, they are currently on CD only.
As we drove out of the place back to Taupo, we took a wrong turn and ended up at the dam power station, oops but great views!
As we got back to the road that crossed the dam they were opening the gates for their 2pm 11,000 litre flood. We walked down to a viewing point to watch. It was amazing how long it actually took the water to get down the creek, but it was bone dry before, and the water rose massive amounts, you had to see it to believe it! Huge pools had to be filled before the water overflowed over the rocks and down to the next part. I expected it to be like a tidal wave but it wasn’t at all. Lucky we were there to watch.
Massage and thermal spa
I had a full body massage booked at the thermal spa that afternoon, a must in my book, to be honest! I got a free thermal spa entry too, so after my fabulous massage, I was able to relax in the outdoor thermal pools. What a brilliant end to the day.
Dinner at Dixies
We thought a drive to Taupo for dinner would be straight forward, but the town was oddly deserted. Many of the eating places were open but empty. It was a little freaky, like Taupo only opened at weekends! We walked round the place and then decided to judge the places based on which ones actually had people inside! We went for Dixies, which looked like nothing much on the outside, but was actually very very nice indeed. Delicious food, and delicious deserts. It was hilarious, the sight of desert envy when I ordered chocolate mud and it turned out to be a huge piece of chololate fudge cake with cream and ice cream! Yum yum!
Another beautiful day, and the sun was setting as we came out of the cafe.
Bye bye Taupo, as we head off for the last leg of our travels tomorrow.