PassiveSteve Goes to Waikite Thermal Pools

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05/01/08
Greetings from a well-rested and soaked PassiveSteve. Yes, today has certainly been one of my most inactive days of this trip thus far. However, it has been far from a boring day, and I’m definitely glad to finally take a ‘personal day’ to recharge mind, body and spirit! So just what makes this day so passive? Well, for starters, I only biked 30km, and I only left Rotorua around 10:30am. The late start was not only due to my short riding distance, but also my late night listening to live music. I’ve only headed a bit south of Rotorua to an area known as Waikite, where the Te Manaroa Spring is located. This is the largest single source of boiling water, which puts out about 40-50L of 98 degree water per second. Even though it was a short day, I’ve still put together a little map for you to look over, with some pictures of the thermal pools at my campground. Read on for more on this quiet day.

The road to Waikite started off sort of annoyingly. I was on the main highway for the first part, and there were lots of cars, campers, and trucks. I’ve come to grips with the fact that the next couple weeks will be very busy, as a result of Kiwis all taking their summer holidays at the same time. However, by the time I get further south on the North Island, and most definitely on the South Island, I’ll have the roads more or less to myself. Or at least sharing them with Ralph, who is my virtual riding friend. Even though we don’t always sleep in the same spots, we seem to end up together quite a bit. We’re camping together again tonight, but will supposedly part ways again tomorrow, perhaps meeting up to do the Tongariro Crossing together, and perhaps not. We just never know. Either way, he’s been good company for almost a week now!

After a little bit on the main road, I turned off to take some back roads to the campground, which were infinitely more enjoyable. My butt was already quite sore, so I was pretty much looking forward to only a short ride, and then an opportunity to take in some hot baths and apply more cream to see if I can get things under control. This back road was not too bad, with some climbs of course, but nothing too severe. In my 30km, I only climbed about 800m. Upon arrival at the campground, I saw Ralph setting his tent up. He’d apparently gotten there only 20 or so minutes before me. The cost for this oasis? A mere 16NZD, including use of all the hot pools while we stay here. We’ve already gone for two different sessions, are about to have some supper, then plan to do another soak after we eat. I also hope to get up early enough to do a quick soak in the morning before hitting the road for Taupo.

I’ve already made bookings for Taupo, and it looks like this might be the start of some real fun stuff. I was reading through Lonely Planet, and I think I might do a combo of a skydive, a bungy jump, and a jet boat excursion. It’s a lot to pack into one day, but this is the world capital of skydiving, so I simply must do that. There’s pretty good discounts if you do the skydive before 9am, which gives me lots of time to do the other two activities as well. After Taupo, there will be some serious overnight tramping as I set out to do the Tongariro circuit in about 2 days. Yup, the activities are starting to pile up, which means so is the money outlay, but I’m still way under budget, so I’m going all out babies! Time to do the real cool stuff, right?

Well, since it was a short day, I’ll keep this as a short post, and sign off here. Tomorrow is a new day, and hopefully my butt problems will have sorted themselves out a bit, as well as my stiff knees. There will be a lot of physical activity coming up, and I need to be in top shape. Don’t worry too much though folks, I’m taking good care of myself. Why, there’s even talk about a nice bottle of wine with supper. They say wine is a healthy thing to drink, no? Hee hee. Take care all!

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