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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.

Friday 10 March 2023

We take the waters

 March 10th

 We certainly had some rain last night, I felt for those with tents, two cars turned up late, it was dark, yet those tents had to go up A lot of hollering and jovial remarks before the deed was done. All I can say is thank goodness our camping days are over, it's no fun in the rain!

The rain continued and I started to worry about getting up that steep drive. Ian pooed pooed it, said I was worrying unnecessarily but I wouldn't leave it alone so he got dressed to allay my concern. On his return he agreed that maybe we should try leaving sooner than later and before all those other campers chewed up the ground as they left. So we got going before 8 am, sailed up that slope without any problem (I did got a 'told you so') stopped in a lay-by about a kilometre further for tea and cereal.

This looks tame but in reality it was quite steep.

It was a miserable drive to Turangi. Here we shopped (this is on a daily basis now as we only have just over a week before we leave NZ) and to use the dump station. Deciding on seeing the thermal village of Tokaanu with its hot springs, we backtracked to where the SH47 joined SH1. 

A viewpoint was seen as we headed for the village. "Not worth bothering about" said Ian eyeing the continuing rain and low cloud. I insisted though, no harm in having a look. Well this time I was the one saying 'I told you so' because the view was pretty spectacular. We even had two council workers try to have a bit of a joke with us. They insisted that our Nessie had left Loch Ness and was holidaying right below us in the river. Well they chose the wrong people to try and get a reaction from! They looked a bit sheepish when I told them we were Brits!


 At Tokaanu Village was the hot thermal baths and mineral spa. We hadn't intended to stop here as the initial plan was to try the hot springs at the Terraces in Taupo. We did walk around the thermal park though. 


He had to test the water temperature!

 I needed the loo and enquired if I could use the ones at the pools. "Have a look at the private mineral spa bath while you're there" she said. Wow, it looked perfect and just for us two. Well, how could we refuse.



 At 12 dollars each for 25 minutes, it was a no brainer. The water temperature was 40 degrees, 20 minutes was the recommended time to stay in that heat. We didn't need cossies just towels, once the 20 minutes were up we would be told to leave. By Jove, it was hot! I struggled to get in but once acclimatised it was a great experience.  I took my waterproof camera in with me. No it didn't go in the water but placed it on the side where I could take the selfies.



. Back on SH1 and very much in evidence was the devastation Cyclone Gabriel had caused at the beginning of the year. Some wind force snapping those trees like matchsticks.

It was early afternoon when we arrived in Taupo. The lake had proper waves on it, we hadn't even realised it was that windy. Black Swans were on the bank, a photo opportunity for me.


So the reason for us heading all this way from Wellington to Taupo was to see the Aratiatia dam rapids. Those that read this blog will know how we have tried to find LOTR and Hobbit film destinations. The famous scene in the Hobbit, Desolation of Smaug with the barrel scene, part of it was filmed here. Freedom camping is also permitted, perfect spot to see the sluice gates open and the Aratiatia rapids flood.

4 times a day the sluices are opened and for 15 minutes each time. It's all to do with the power station and water levels but the spectacle is now one of the 'must see' attractions. 4 sirens are sounded one at 8 minutes, one at 4 minutes then two and the last a warning that the sluice gates are about to open.

So the before and after photos.

And after

Tomorrow we will head to the viewing platform to see the rise of the water through the gorge.

And wild life

Trout in the stream by the thermal pools.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Absolutely fabulous there what a wonderful experience for you bothe and lovely pics as usual.
Ann Makemson xx

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