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Entries about geysers

Rotorua & Lake Taupo - Day 61

Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park, Rapids Jet, Huka Falls & Aratiatia Dam

24 °C

This morning we went to Wai-O-Tapu thermal park in Rotorua. Walking around the park we got to see craters, boiling mud pools, unnaturally (although of course they were) colourful lakes and steaming vents. I had never seen anything like it before, it was amazing! I'm not the best at geography, but Andrew tells me it's all to do with magma being closer to the earths surface here. I didn't even mind the continuing stench of sulphur too much because it was so interesting! We spent a an hour or two walking around the area...

In between, we watched a geyser blow, as they stimulate it at 10.15am every day to show you one erupting. The story goes that it was discovered by prisoners many, many years ago who were planting forests in the area. They found this hot water and decided, as they didn't have hot water in the prison, to bring their clothes down to wash them. They put the clothes in the water - all fine - they put soap on the clothes and put it in the water, and the geyser blew water in every direction sending the clothes and the prisoners flying! This is how they discovered soap can stimulate a reaction and apparently they did it often afterwards for entertain. Now the people at the park use some Eco friendly stuff that's similar to soap. (NB We'll upload a video of this, and other videos, when we get home and post, post-trip)

After the park we drove to Lake Taupo, which isn't very far from Rotorua. We had lunch at a lookout point over the town - apparently LakeTaupo (the lake itself) is the size of Singapore?! Singapore must be small! I'll let you know in a couple of months. We booked ourselves onto a jet boat ride this afternoon, as we needed to move on tomorrow - we have a very tight schedule here in New Zealand as Andrew's mum will be here soon and we want to meet her in the Bay of Islands on 1st March (today is 24th March) then get on the ferry at Wellington on 3rd April.

Before the boat, we stopped off to see Huka Falls on the way. It was a nice waterfall, with crystal clear blue water.

The rapids jet took us down Aratiatia River, which is now controlled by the dam there. I think the flood gates open twice a day normally but the amount of water let through and the time of day can be changed, which is why Peter Jackson used this river for The Hobbit. Apparently there is a scene in the film with barrels tumbling down a river and it was here! Unfortunately we couldn't take our camera with us as the company wouldn't allow it due to water damage or loss and, of course, they sold pictures on the way out. We didn't get them though because they were just of us in the boat, not of the scenery around, so it seemed a waste. Check it out here though - http://www.rapidsjet.com/

The jet boat was awesome though. There's only 12 people inside the tiny boat including the driver, whose girlfriend was on the boat with us so he was totally showing off. We did 360 spins, jumped the rapids and, as it only needs 4 inches of water to sail on, the driver whizzed us so close to the bank of river underneath a bent tree! It was so quick. The river is beautiful too, very 'Yogi Bear', if that's makes any sense to anyone else? The water was so clear you could see right to the bottom, the trees lined the bank and rocks and boulders were scattered down it. There was a section of the river bank where you could see old, dead trees in the mud that had been covered in ash from the last volcano, which was thousands of years ago. The clear water was also thanks to the volcano, as it was being filtered through volcanic rock from the eruption.

Exhilarated, we left and Andrew wanted to see the Aratiatia Dam in action. Sounds a little boring - I definitely thought it was going to be - but it was actually cool as it replenished the river to what it used to be. We stood (with lots of other people) on one side of the bridge to watch the flood gates open, ran across the road to see the river start to fill and then ran down a track to see it from another angle further down the river. We must have had lots of energy from the rapid boat!

We stayed close to Lake Taupo on a free campsite called Riley's Farm. The long drop toilets weren't the best kept but it was next to a river so after dinner we went and fed the ducks.

Posted by staceywaugh 05:47 Archived in New Zealand Tagged waterfalls lakes birds rivers geothermal geysers Comments (2)

Uyuni to San Pedro de Atacama, Chile - Day 43

Tour Day 3

20 °C

4.30am. I'd already been up for 2 hours though with massive stomach cramps. I could still taste the onion lasagne and thought that was to blame. We packed in the dark, save for a few torch lights, and I felt so sick and bloated too. I couldn't eat breakfast either, which anyone who knows me understands is really unusual! There was even fruit salad and pancakes and I still couldn't eat!

We set off in the dark to the geysers. The sunrise in the desert was lovely. When we arrived at the geysers it was cold and windy, and we were getting higher in altitude. The geysers were cool but after a while I had to let Andrew stay and take the pictures as I headed to one side as i thought i was going to be sick. Alan was there too, also thinking he was going to be sick, but from alcohol! We couldn't be sick so we wished each other luck for the journey ahead.

The next stop was an early morning dip in some hot water springs.

First stop for me was the back of a building to be sick though :( I thought this might help but it was the start of the end! Luckily though I was well enough at this point to get in the pool. Here, we were at almost 5,000ft above sea level, the highest altitude we'd been at, and it was cold and windy outside but getting into that hot spring was like walking into boiling water. It was almost too hot to stand, but slowly your body became used to it and it was really nice. Once I got out I started to feel horrible again and had to use the loo!

It's not fun being sick and needing the toilet in a bumpy jeep driving through the desert. I drank dioralyte and took Imodium and Imodium instants, but everything was coming back up. There was another lagoon and the Dali landscape, which signaled the end of our tour, and I was annoyed to have been ill for them and also for our goodbye to everyone on the tour that was going back to Uyuni instead of on to Chile, which included Lucy and George.

I somehow managed to get through the journey to border control out of Bolivia and into Chile, and the bus drive in the middle to San Pedro de Atacama. The bus driver was so nice to me though, Gonzalez told him I was sick and he let me sit up front with him and drove really slowly.

We arrived at hostel Mamatierra at lunch time and it was like my body knew I was near a toilet! I couldn't stop being sick and going to the loo for about 4 hours, I couldn't even keep water down and nothing was working. So the £40 medical kit finally came in to good use! I took some antibiotics that were in there for just this reason. I then managed to sleep for a few hours and when I woke up I felt a little better (I could lift my head off the pillow!) and could keep a dioralyte down. Thank you Nomad for making us buy the really expensive kit!

And that was the story of my first bug abroad!

Posted by staceywaugh 05:27 Archived in Bolivia Tagged landscapes desert hot_springs geysers Comments (0)

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