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In 1977 we hired our first narrowboat from Anglo Welsh at Market Harborough.From that moment our destiny was set. In 2006 we finally purchased our own brand new 57' narrowboat which we named 'Free Spirit'. Our aim is to travel the length and breadth of all the navigable rivers and canals of the UK. This will be our story as it unfolds.

Sunday, 12 March 2023

Scent bottles and craters

 March 12th

This morning's view of the lake! So much mist rising it completely obscured the water.

We decided in the end to leave the car park at Aratiatia dam and head to Rotorua. But first that last look at the rapids. We had to leg it to the viewing platform when the 8-minute warning siren went off. Got chatting to another English couple and completely forgot the time. Anyway this time we viewed the rising water as it cascaded downstream so as said yesterday, all parts now completed.




Before heading off to Rotorua we stopped at the Lava Glass centre. I wish I could have shown the beautiful vases, scent bottles, paper weights etc, the patterns were stunning but no photography allowed. We wanted to see the sculptor gardens and watch the glass blowing and for a fee of $40 we could do both.

Remember the kaleidoscopes?

All made from glass fragments

Stunning. Takes two months for these glass sculptors to cool down in a gradual cooling oven so they won't shatter!

There are some really talented and masters of their craft out there. Chris the chap making the perfume bottles had us all enthralled with the amazing method of adding the colour patterns and then covering in clear glass. Loved it and would have loved to purchase one of his creations but two things stopped us...glass of any sort on a boat is not a good idea and it was all VERY expensive. One oval shaped 12" vase would set you back over a thousand dollars! There were pieces well over 6,000 dollars. They were beautiful though and I can truly appreciate the cost with all the work that goes into making them. 

The finished product

One thing we have never done was the Craters of the Moon. Another geothermal natural park. It was different, there was a good walk around the outside mainly boarded and plenty of places where thermal activity had once been. Unfortunately these had all but disappeared and the huge mud crater had also almost dried up. We were slightly disappointed. Plenty of steam coming from fumaroles and I had read that once geysers would erupt here on a regular basis. I took this from Wiki

The most important change in the region has been the building of the Wairakei Power Station (150 MW) in the 1950s, about 2 km. north of the field. This reduced the pressure in the hot water systems below the earth surface. Since then much of the geothermal activity in the region has dramatically changed, as did the geothermal activity at Craters of the Moon. The geysers at Wairakei Geyser Valley totally disappeared, but the heat output at Craters of the Moon increased. A lot of hydrothermal eruptions occurred, which formed the craters.

Craters of the Moon is a steamfield with a total of about 36 hectares (0.36 km2) of heated ground. It has an average altitude of 435 m.[7] It has – of course – craters, but it also has fumaroles (“blowholes”) and a mudpool. Vegetation around the area of the Craters of the Moon is quite uncommon.


The walk was pleasant, it was very hot though, and just climbing to one of the mud craters about 'did me in'. I recovered on the journey to Rotorua.

 We have stopped at Boyes Beach Reserve on the banks of Lake Okareka again. Here we knew we could grab a shower. Ian loaded our Kiwicash fob with the cost of the shower (2 dollars) and all we had to do was tap the fob against the unit on the wall twice and hot water would be instantly mine. But this time there was a problem. I tapped the fob as instructed, turned on the tap and had nothing but cold water! So I tried again...cold water only. Blast...so I got dressed, got Ian to show me what I was doing wrong and even he couldn't get it to work. Oh well...in for a penny...Gosh that shower was cold! I was determined to get rid of the sulphur smell, reeked of it, both of us because of those fumarole vents emitting vast quantities of steam engulfing our whole selves. Ian checked his Kiwicash account. 4 dollars had been removed, my fault because I kept tapping that unit. Anyway Ian has emailed the company, told them they have a problem and we now await hope for a refund! Oh and he braved that cold shower too!


Jenny said...

The sculpture garden is delightful, we wandered through it a while ago. The cafe was very nice too, I remember.

Ian and Irene Jameison said...

The cafรฉ was good although very pricey. One sausage roll was $19! But the gardens and the glass blowing were incredible.

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