The story of the day has to simply be that we are all here. We are couples, friends & solo travellers, all of us strangers yet ready to participate on the trip of a lifetime!
Through breathtaking scenery we made our way to the Karangahake Gorge, our first stop and it is absolutely absolutely stunning. The hour long Window Walk wasn’t too challenging even though there was drizzle around.
After lunch saw us traveling in a kiwi fruit train, much to the delight of us all. Learning about the processes involved to bring these fruit to an international market was fascinating. Gavin, our host, did a great job explaining it all in easy terms and was happy to answer the many questions that were asked. We have a number of current & former teachers with us on tour & they are very inquisitive about all facets of New Zealand. None of us had heard of Gold kiwi fruit & were all pleasantly surprised at its sweet taste.
The weather had been getting darker as the day wore on & as we departed the orchard for our planned trip on the catamaran at Lake Rotoiti we were all very sceptical as to whether we would be able to sail. We boarded with the rain falling but were offered the warmest welcome complete with hot tea & coffee & plenty of blankets to snuggle under. Many of us were unsure about putting our bathers on in such cold weather only committing to the act as we pulled up to the seclusive thermal pools. I speak for everyone when I say I am so glad I decided to embrace this once in a lifetime experience.
The pools were so warm & refreshing, if a little smelly, & even though some chose to stay clothed everyone still enjoyed the experience together as a group. Those of us that are completely mad then chose to go down the slide plunging ourselves into the freezing waters of the lake! One of us, who must be the craziest (that would be me), even did it twice!!! This is travel nirvana, challenging yourself to step outside your comfort zone & embrace that which would seem unimaginable to the person you are at home. This stunning lake is truly breathtaking & the laughter of the afternoon continued over bubbles on the catamaran as we cruised back along the bush clad shoreline learning more about this geothermal area.
Rotorua was a welcome sight after a fun filled day & we look forward to what tomorrow has in store for us.