The day Alba and I left Rotorua was indeed miserable as the weather was cold and rainy. We bundled up and hoped for the best in Taupo as we said goodbye to Roto Vegas, as it is also known. Because of the continually bad weather, we’d missed our chance to go white water rafting. All the rafting companies were closed because the river’s water level was too high for safe rafting.
But, what we found to cause disappointment in one instance proved to be a boon in another. On our way south to Taupo, we made a quick stop at Huka Falls on the Waikato River. The excessive rain of the past few days helped make a spectacular river waterfall even more glorious. Apparently, 220,000 liters of water rush through Huka Falls every second. The surging water created a dull roar that could be heard from the parking lot, and it became louder and louder as you approached.
The water was icy blue and capped with white wash as the river tumbled over itself. It moved quickly as if it was anxious and seemed almost violent at times, throwing up a tangible mist that reminded me of a thin gauze curtain blowing in the wind.
We also visited an area with hot, bubbling pools of mud. Steam rose from the pond and gave off a strong sulfurous odor. It smelled like rotten eggs and looked like a boiling pit from which we could expect a disfigured creature to emerge at any time.
As it was getting late, we didn’t linger long at the mud pools. I assume everyone had seen their fill at one of the many spas in Rotorua. The bad weather still lingered as we approached Taupo, and it prevented us from seeing the enormous lake when we came over the rise.
It seemed that everyone had booked into the Stray-endorsed hostel, but Alba and I stayed at the YHA again. For the most part, we’d found that their accommodations were reliably clean and their staff usually friendly. After checking in, we walked around for a bit and hit up the local McDonald’s for free wifi.