The Next Great New Zealand Walk

Up early, into a taxi and off for another adventure. That’s how the day began for some GHS students on Wednesday. And what an adventure this turned out to be. The Tarawera Trail is in an area devastated in 1886 by a major volcanic eruption. That eruption is a big story here in Rotorua as it killed a number of residents and rendered much of the area uninhabitable for many years. No longer uninhabitable, this “tramping track” is spectacular, with views of Lake Tarawera, bushland and distant mountain ranges ending at the famous Hot Water Beach. The trail is billed as the birthplace of tourism in New Zealand and for good reason, we decided.

15 km, 4 hours and 20,000 steps later our group arrived at the Hot Water Beach. And that was after taking advantage of our time together to build a teepee, take lots of pictures, wade across a stream and prepare for the OSSLT by writing a newspaper article on our adventure as we hiked. We were a very productive group.

And then we reached the Hot Water Beach which was like nothing we had ever experienced. Boiling hot water flows out of the rocks into an ice-cold lake. Black swans swim placidly along the shore. The sand is alternately cool and burning hot. What a place! We quickly changed into our swimsuits and jumped into the water. I really wish I had been able to capture this on video…the exclamations about the changing temperatures were something to hear. Cool waves were followed by hot waves, one hand would be in cold water, the other in warm. It was crazy (and amazing and lots of fun)!

Back to our starting point, this time by water taxi and then back to Rotorua in time for a snack before dinner. Another excellent adventure in this amazing country.