This is part 2 of our New Zealand trip, read part 1 for more!
Day 3 in Hahei and Hot Water Beach was as low key as possible due to Js food poisoning, but day 4 was jam packed with adventure!
Day 4: Hahei Beach, Rotorua & Lake Taupo
The Cathedral Cove Kayaks let us reschedule our trip for a morning session on day 4. So after cooking eggs on toast in the camp kitchen and packing up our campsite, we headed down the beach for our kayak adventure. It was overcast and the water was not as calm as the previous day but we were excited! The plan was to kayak from Hahei beach around the headlands to the stunning Cathedral Cove. We were debriefed and given waterproof tops to help keep us dry and warm. I hopped in the back as J was still nervous about his strength and I wanted control over the pedals.
The paddle around to Cathedral Cove was not overly challenging once I got a feel for the pedals. About halfway to the cove we linked with the 3 other kayaks in our group and put up a sail which have us a break from paddling! Once we arrived at the cove, the guide helped us into shore one at a time. We were given about 20 minutes to explore, stretch and use the restroom. Cathedral Cove has a naturally forming archway linking two beaches. Even in an overcast day the sight was beautiful.
When we arrived back to our kayaks, our guide had whipped up coffees, hot chocolates and hot teas served with chocolate chip cookies. The coffees and hot choc even had frothed milk! It was an amazing touch that allowed us to sit and chat on a stunning beach before kayaking for another hour.
We hopped back in the kayaks and waited as our guide assisted each with going back through the surf. J and I switched places in the kayak which we quickly found was the worst decision. Going out we were hit with a wave which I was not prepared to handle- rather than paddling through it, I let it wash over me making it harder to navigate and get water down my shirt (fail). The second issue was the foot pedals- they were small and set to the right position for my leg length. When J sat there his legs had to bend more to get his feet on the pedals which caused cramping in his legs and feet after 10 minutes. He gave up on the pedals so we had to use our paddles to steer which is a lot harder! Future reference when kayaking don’t assume the pedals will work for people with a 6 inch difference!
We spent the rest of the day driving to Rotorua. On the drive the rain decided to make an appearance in the drizzly miserable way. We had tentatively planned to camp in either Rotorua or Lake Taupo but once we arrived we decided to reward ourselves from surviving the sickness and check into the Hilton in Lake Taupo. (Plus with it raining our gear would get wet/muddy which could be an issue going back through customs).
Rotorua is known for its geothermal activity, through the hot springs, geysers and bubbling mud pools. We explored Kuirau Park for about an hour checking out the many bubbling mud pools. We then headed to Lake Taupo, which is an hours drive, for the night.
Day 5: Rotorua and Lake Taupo
This was our last full day in NZ so we got up early, enjoyed the breakfast buffet at the Hilton and drove 45 minutes towards Rotorua to the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. We got there in time to watch the Lady Knox Geyser erupt and then walked around the thermal park. The park’a layout was fantastic with various options to extend or shorten the walk depending on ability.
After the geothermal park, we headed back to Lake Taupo to explore. We stopped at a glass blowing studio, Lava Glass, we saw on the side of the road and it was a beautiful shop and cafe. We spent the NZ$ 10 to watch the glass blowers in their studio and then picked up a gorgeous ornament. Since we bought a piece the $10 went towards the price of the ornament which was $45. We have collected ornaments from all of our big trips since we’ve been married so this was the perfect addition!
The rest of the day was spent exploring rainy Lake Taupo, complete with some attempts at the hole in one game with a $10k reward. Though he had some close attempts we did not walk away with the prize!
We loved New Zealand and look forward to exploring the South Island!