Taupo, New Zealand
Shortly before arriving in Taupo, we were greeted by the rather unusual and double take appearance of steam protruding from the ground, yes, right by the road. This seemed to be a consistent theme, which was something that would stick in our memory (and sense of smell) for a long time. You start with wondering what’s on fire to wondering, do they ever know what’s on fire? New Zealand was very inconsistent regarding its weather when we arrived, but it was sure that it wanted to be cold when we arrived. So, armed with the rather fetching attire of swimming shorts and a fleece, we headed to some free natural springs not having any idea what to expect. As we reached the main area, it was loaded with 10 or so grinning ‘super cools’ (remember?) so we continued a small accent to the spot above them where we found small intimate pool all to ourselves. I did have a slight wicked side that wanted to let a banana through the hot springs so that eventually it would land on the super cools just to make them wonder where it had come from – I didn’t have a banana. The feeling of stripping off in 8 degrees temperatures in complete nature and surrounded by nothing but a steaming pool of stone lined water wasn’t exactly appealing at first, but the moment you touch that water is the moment you’ll never forget. The naturally warm spring was like running the hottest bath imaginable; hot yet just cool enough to actually submerge in. The only difference being is that over time a bath will get cold, this was a constant stream fn hot water and only getting out would relieve any discomfort, so that we did. Suddenly the temperature outside seem to climb another 10 degrees with our bodies now throbbing temperatures above boiling point; yet it all seemed worthwhile and so relaxing – needless to say that fleece didn’t go back on. The rest of the time spent in Taupo was discovering that ‘Wild Bean Cafe’ was a great place to get a cheap meal, decent coffee and nice desserts and that paying for hot springs are totally worth it yet bizarre as rivers of temperatures above boiling point just flow a few inches from the swimming hole. Our base for the two days couldn’t of been any better and although it couldn’t of been compared to anything else but a Homestay, it was like living in your own apartment where someone cooks you breakfast, a luxury one with quite a fitting name, ‘Tuscany in Taupo’.