The internet is a wonderful place; it has given us the ability to travel all around the globe whilst still connecting us to home. Gone are the days where your friends and family would have to wait days, even weeks on end for that fateful letter or postcard to let them know that you're alive. No longer do you have to spend a small fortune trying to call home, spending half your allotted telephone time attempting to work out how that goddamn pre-pay card works, and the other half battling the delayed responses and dodgy line connection, shouting "Can you hear me now?" and "Are you still there?" With the click of a button we are now able to phone home in a few seconds and (time differences depending) can look upon our loved ones faces whenever we so choose.

But sometimes we really have to remember to put the phone down, shut the internet away, and truly appreciate the places we've spent time, energy and a lot of money to travel to. And for that reason, I am grateful that that Kohutapu Lodge had absolutely no WIFI signal, so once we all woke up at 6am I had no choice but to watch the sun rise over Lake Aniwhenua.

It was peaceful. It was otherworldly. It was freeze-your-tits-off cold, but nothing several jumpers and a barrel full of coffee couldn't fix.

And hey, before anyone complains - I ain't judging you! You don't think I spent HOURS scrolling Instagram and watching half of YouTube before writing this post? I'm cat mad and the Queen of Procrastination, there was a lot of content to get through!

Speaking of cats, it turns out that Nad's family owns a beautiful black fur ball of their own; a fact we only came to discover when it jumped onboard our bus and tried to hitch a ride to our next destination. Never have you seen a bunch of 20 something year olds return to childhood so fast - "Can we keep him Mum? Pleeeeeeease?!" But alas, the cat decided that adventure wasn't for him. So onwards, travellers, to the next portion of our quest: Blue Duck Station!

As is common with Stray Travel, you can't just simply go from one destination straight to the next; we found ourselves being diverted to a little place called Kerosene Creek, a natural (and more importantly, FREE) hot spring that flows through the forest on the way to Taupo. Literally, we had to pull over onto a grass verge on the side of the road then follow this tiny path through the bush to get to the pools. One minute you're surrounded by branches, birdsong and babbling brooks, and the next you're confronted by what can only be described as a giant basin sitting in the heart of the woods; like one of those fancy ones you see in a spa, surrounded completely by greenery, built out of rockery with a freaking waterfall falling into it. Only, you know, au natural.

And the STEAM rising off it! It still astounds me that this country has so much geothermal activity running under it that it's able to turn a pool in the woods into the temperature of bathwater! I'm talking 'fresh, beginning of the bath, I forgot to turn the cold tap on' bathwater, none of your 'tepid, twenty minutes and wrinkly fingers later' baths. If you tried to jump into a creek like this in the UK you'd end up covered in mud and frogspawn, and possibly gaining hypothermia.

Lesson Number 29: If in doubt, keep your swimming costume about your person at all times - there are a surprising amount of pools, sea's, lakes and spa's in New Zealand to jump into at any given moment. Or better yet just wear your cossie as glorified underwear, and save yourself the hassle of trying to wrestle it on; wood chips, much like sand, can get everywhere!

Once suitably soaked, we clambered back onboard the bus and continued onwards. Now the one thing you may discover about New Zealand is that you can encounter pretty much ever single landscape and weather condition possible within a 24 hour period - beach to city, mountains to forest, snow to fog to sun and back again - and the journey to Blue Duck Station was no exception. Woodland trees and open road turned into fields and misty mountains worthy of JRR Tolkien within the blink of an eye. I may say this a lot throughout the course of these posts, but goddamn if it wasn't one, if not THE most gorgeous sights I ever did see; 360 degrees of green vistas, a never-ending sea of mountainous peaks covered root to stem in trees, only occasionally broken by a rolling mid afternoon mist slowly seeping into the valleys. And if you squint, far enough in the distance, are the run of majestic snow-topped caps that make you remember that you're on the far edge of the world.

If you can bear the hellish, boulder covered track leading up to the reservation, then I can promise that it's totally worth the wait!

1 comment:

  1. I would so very much like to try to bathe in one of the thermal pools. New Zealand looks perfect place to try this and with so many other natural wonders it is very high on my travel list. I still need to do some saving up to be able to visit.

    Janja | https://seekingwonderful.wordpress.com/