With a free few days beginning on Halloween, we headed north to the Lake Taupo area in the middle of the North Island. We arrived at our campsite around dusk, with just enough light to set up and get comfortable in our tent, where we proceeded to scare ourselves silly watching Psycho. (In the dark. In the woods. With the nearest human civilization being the prison a few kilometers down the road. Becky hadn’t seen it before and had trouble sleeping, equally disturbed by the plotline and by how much she actually liked Norman Bates.)
The next morning we explored more of the Lake Taupo area, a hotbed of geothermal activity. (The world’s first geothermal power plant is there, in fact.) The Waikato river flows out of the huge volcanic Lake Taupo through a narrow chute called Huka Falls. About 2 swimming pools of water go through a 10-foot channel every second – needless to say, it’s impressive. We decided against rafting it.
We also visited the Craters of the Moon, an aptly-named area with steaming grounds and craters filled with bubbling, sulfurous mud.
Here there be dragons?
We wrapped up the day in the best offering of any geothermal area: a natural hot springs water park complete with private pools and a waterslide. We were maybe the oldest people riding the waterslide, but why let kids have all the fun?
Straight from the dragon's mouth.
The next day, deciding we hadn’t gotten enough fright on Halloween, we went to check out Taupo Bungee on the Waikato River.
From this platform, fearless thrill-seekers/fools jump to the river below.
After watching a few jumps from a safe distance, we girded our loins and flung ourselves, screaming, off a cliff. Even the memory of it still terrifies us.
Becky plummets down 154 feet to the Waikato River.
More soon to come from the rest of our trip to Taupo.