First a couple of random statements ---- So far Iíve seen more cows in New Zealand than sheep ---- seems a little weird to me. Is it strange that I find steam coming out of the ground in random spots is normal? It only took a day to get use to the steam and the sulfur smell when you are near the steam.

Today is a driving day. We leave Rotorua and will spend the night to Ohakune. Along the route we stopped at the Aratiatia Rapids. Many years ago this was a spectacular part of the Waikato River. Then the government plonked a hydroelectric dam across the river stopping the flow. Fortunately, the flow is not completely stopped. The flood gates are opened several times a day releasing excess water.

Before the gates opened.

Here comes the water.

Water is just a rushing through.

Flood gates open and water rushing through. A little different than the first photo.

When I reviewed the area we were driving in our guide book I found Orakei Korako, a geothermal area that is considered the best remaining thermal area in New Zealand at least according to Lonely Planet. Ed and I decided that we hadnít seen enough geothermal areas and detoured to Orakei Korako. The photos aren't the best as it was raining.

Looking across the river to the geothermal area.



Boiling mud.


Soda Fountain was dormant for 17 years then in 1984 it suddenly filled. Since then it has been unpredictible filling and emptying at will.

Looking back across the river and at the boat coming to pick us up.

A duck by the dock washing his wings I guess.

Huka Falls is another spot on the Waikato River were the river narrows and water rushes through it.

Water coming into the narrows and it really is that blue.

Jet boats like to venture into the river at the bottom of the falls. The falls isn't very tall but the water is really moving.

We saw a lot of beautiful scenery today and some that should have be spectacular (darn rain) but no photos (again darn rain).

A small world story. In 1997 Ed and I went to Scotland and Ed corresponded with a fellow called Chris Nightingale who owned the Lochnaw Castle (Clan Agnews castle). The fellow sitting at the table next to us at dinner new Chris and did some work at Lochnaw Castle.