Ben planned a four-day tour of the southern part of the North Island.
We left Whangarei early in the morning and drove five hours to Tauranga. Tauranga is located in the Bay of Plenty, which is perhaps the most popular vacation spot in the entire North Island. Tauranga was just a quick stop. We put our toes in the sand and looked for surfers. There’s an artificial reef in the area, and it’s a well-known surf spot. Unfortunately, the water was too calm the day we visited, and it was hard to even tell where the break was located.
Our next stop was an hour south at Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. It was, hands down, the stinkiest place I’ve ever been. Sulphur, sulphur, sulphur! In the couple of hours that we were there, I never got used to the smell.
I wish I would have kept the park map so I could give an appropriate explanation for each photo. In short, there were craters, hot and cold pools and mineral terraces all created by volcanic activity. The park was laid out nicely and it was a long, pleasant (except for the smell) walk.
After Wai-O-Tapu, we had one more hour drive to our hotel at Lake Taupo. Upon arrival, we were greeted by a sun-bathing fish.
The hotel was a charming log cabin with beautiful views of the lake. It offered a nice, quiet end to the day.