Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Huka Falls

Unsure of how busy the town was likely to be at Easter, we drove into town and parked early so that we would have a parking space all day. We then walked from the centre of town up to the base of Spa Thermal park, which takes a route via the Waikato river – the longest river in new Zealand – where there is a hot pool; people swim here and find the right mix of hot water from the pool and the cold water of the river to suit them. 

That's steam coming off the water

We hadn’t brought our togs as we weren’t expecting this – I’d heard about it from a colleague, but we had a different destination in mind: the Huka Falls. These are formed as the river narrows dramatically from around 100m across to only 15m where it crosses a hard volcanic ledge. The flow rate is regulated downstream by Mighty River Power company, who operate a series of hydroelectric electricity generating plants along the Waikato river. The falls can also be viewed from the Huka Falls Jet, which takes people in to within a few metres of the falls.

We walked back to town and went for lunch at the Vine Eatery in Scenic Cellars, before heading back to the iSite to be driven out to our next activity – a kayak trip to the Maori carvings in Mine Bay – by our Hayden, who was actually called Cory this time, and was from Colorado. The carvings are actually fairly recently made – they were started in the late 70s and completed 4 years later. We stopped for a break on the way back, and had the traditional hot beverage and chocolate brownies and cookies. We then changed positions and Nicola steered for the remainder of the journey.

My view for most of the trip

Main carving

Picture taken by Cory

Additional carvings

Important cookie eatage

Cory brewing up

Once we got back to our motel, we filled the hot tub, which is heated by natural springs, and had a good long soak of our aching shoulders.

We rounded off the day with dinner at the Waterside Restaurant.

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