The White Islands

Trip Start Jan 20, 2005
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Trip End Sep 10, 2005


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Saturday, April 9, 2005

After waking up to a rainy morning in Rotorua , leaving seemed obvious. The Nelson Girls told me that they were in a place called the "White Islands" which is an active volcano off the shore of a town called Whakatane. This is pronounced Fakatanee though because "Wh" in Mouri is pronounced like an "F". Don't ask me why , but it's a useful thing to know in order to avoid sounding like an idiot when asking for directions. I took them up on their advice and left for the town. The sun came out on the way and I found the backpacker relatively easier than usual so the day was turning out pretty good after all.
On arrival , the woman who owned the backpacker told me about a five hour walk that can be done with nice views and a visit to the other beach called Ohope. On this walk , I was practically alone the entire time and the views were great. I guess that since I haven't done a walk alone for a while , it was nice just going at my own pace and starting to think again. The big difference between a several day tramp and a day walk is that on a day walk , a little elf appears and forces you to eat a free "Gold Rush" favoured Tip Top ice cream!!! Ok ok, maybe there was no elf .. But it was still free! Well , except for the payment and actually... nobody forced me ... but it was yummy and a necessary mental energy stop. The rest was your standard bush walk for a couple of hours.
The next day I was on the boat to the White Islands. This time my toast stayed put because the sea we pretty calm and the day was perfect. There are only two active volcanoes in New Zealand and you could smell the sulfur and see the different colors as you pull up near the island. We got the grand tour and actually stood right near the mouth of the volcano which is a giant steaming pool. Everything changes on a volcanic island because the land and water is always moving and changes in the weather can have a major effect. It really was a pretty neat island and I was glad that I took them up on their advice.
That night , I had a beer at the local fisher mans club and the next day I began touring the Coromandel which is situated west of Whakatane (Remember the F!) . There I will meet Hila and we may continue together for a few days.
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