Anyway today we drove to some bubbling mud pools- just by the side of the road, it was really bizarre. It makes you realise how close to the surface all the magma etc is here. It rained all day today by the way, so we didnt mind spending so much time on the bus, with ocassional photo stops. The next stop was at a geyser, also just by the side of the road, but this one had seats for spectators and so was a bit more touristy. We stood in the rain for about 10 minutes, me all dolled up in my beautiful rain mac, until a man came out and started speaking into a mic about how there are 2 chambers below the geyser- one hot, one cold, and how by adding soap suds, the water tension between the two breaks down, so the geyser erupts
. Apparently it would erupt naturally every couple of days, but what good would that be if it didnt erupt on the day you were there?!! So he pours this bag of soap into the hole, and sure enough it starts fizzing and spouting more and more water until at one point it was shooting out about 10m high, and such a force you really would be lifted up if you sat on top! (Or maybe just thrown to the side, but it was really strong.) The geyser itself was discovered by some criminals who had been taken out into the bush to do community service and were doing their washing, when it erupted!
We drove up the road to Wai-a-topo park, a collection of craters and mud pools which you could walk around, the privalidge of which they charge you $23! I thought that was a bit pricey considering it was just walking around natural pools etc, and it didnt help that it was chucking it down with rain all the while, but it was quite interesting to see the different places. There were lots of craters where the sulphur and stuff had dissolved the rock, and a few massive pools all different colours (depending what minerals were in them). It was steaming everywhere and bubbling- some of the lakes had a ph of 1.5 and went up to 78 degrees C. Not want you want to dip your toes in (although I could have done with another hot water pool to warm me up!)
We arrived in Taupo, overlooking the almighty Lake Taupo (280km square I think and a circ
. of 160km) for the afternoon which was nice, but crowded because there was an annual cycle ride on that day, where 10,000 cyclists cycle around the lake... they must be crazy! Especially in the wind and rain. We went to Pizza Hut for lunch- for the buffet and I got lots of pizza, chips, ice cream and brownies for 3.50. Love how cheap stuff is over here. Speaking of which, I decided it was time to buy (further) warm clothing and ended up buying a ski jacket (!) for $40- about 16pounds. Its soo warm and keeps me dry too- definitely a good investment! I might just leave it in Auckland when I'm done- I'm sure it'll be grey by then anyway- unfortunately they only had white :D Whites and camping dont mix, but its OK at the moment. I then still had a couple of hours to kill, so I sat in a cafe, looking out over the lake, and finished my book. It was really nice just to chill out and not have to do anything- just what I needed.
After I wrote the entry yesterday, I went to a cafe with Hil- we shared the biggest piece of carrot cake and it was sooo good. I also had a plum smoothie which was quite unusual! I (being on cook group) cooked nachos for dinner, in our campsite classed as a 'bush campsite'becuase there was no running water and only a long drop (with a toilet on top) in a little hut. Again very very cold...