Our second morning in Rotorua, we headed to the Fat Dog Cafe for breakfast, which is a decision that I highly recommend. The cakes looked amazing and I strongly considered having cake for breakfast, but instead decided that porridge was the healthier option. I also ordered a hot chocolate, which didn't come with Harry Potter's face but which DID come with hundreds and thousands:
After breakfast, we hit the road and headed south for Wai-o-tapu. We got there just in time to see the tail end of the geyser eruption - unlike the ones at Te Puia, it's set off by adding a catalyst so that it goes off at the same time every day.
From there, we headed through the "thermal wonderland" as it's termed in the brochures, and a lot of it WAS pretty amazing despite the fact that I was a little miss cranky pants due to poor clothing decisions and a warmer than expected day:
From there, it was back on the road heading south. We stopped off at a couple of places along the way when the brown tourist signs on the highway tickled our fancy. At some, we didn't even get out of the car because there was an unexpected fee. At others, like Huka Falls? We were pleasantly surprised:
Two Olympic swimming pools worth of water go over the falls EACH SECOND. And the water was so pretty!!
We ploughed on to Taupo where we stopped for a wee spot of cake and some photos of the lake...
...then spent the rest of the trip driving in the rain.
Eventually, we arrived at our destination - Mount Doom. Okay, fine: Whakapapa Village in Tongariro National Park. Said destination caused us no small amount of giggling which you'll understand if you know anything about Maori pronunciations.
We grabbed a couple of maps about short walks from the ranger station then checked into our far-too-fancy-for-the-likes-of-us accommodation:
After locating our room, we decided that rather than spending what was left of the afternoon there, we'd spend it in the lounge with a drink. And, just before it got dark, the rain and mist cleared, giving us a pretty fabulous view of Mount Ngauruhoe:
Next up, we strap on our hiking boots to