Kayak Lake Tarawera (Queen's Birthday)

Day 1 - Tarawera Landing to Te Rata Bay

Kayaks ready to go to Tarawera Landing

It was a cold and misty morning but we didn't care (except maybe for Nick). We packed our kayaks with relative ease as the car park allowed us to unload our cars directly into the kayaks before we ferried them back to the Blue Lake Motor Camp. After the usual period of faffing we were off some splitting off to kayak under the Pohutakawa trees and explore the rock gardens and thermal springs.

Scott navigates the rock garden

After only a short paddle we were at Te Rata Bay (aka Hot Water Bea ch) and in no time had picked out our camping spots and eaten lunch. It was then off to explore Rapatu Bay and walk across to Lake Rotomahana (to be explored at a later date) which turned out to be about 40 minutes return. This section between the lakes is where the Pink and White Terraces used to be before the eruption in 1886.

The last time I stayed here we setup the tent on the nice warm grass and ended up having to leave the tent sweating at 3am. I wasn't about to make the same mistake this time.

Day 2 - Tarawera Falls

Te Rata Bay (aka Hot Water Beach)

Another calm morning presented itself and it took about 2hrs to make our way from Hot Water Beach to the Tarawera Outlet where we swapped our booties for shoes. Most of us headed into the bush in search of the Tarawera Falls.

The track was beautiful a combination of alpine plants and forest along the crystal clear waters of the Tarawera river. We found it (or so we thought), tucked into a corner of the river was a large raging waterfall emptying into pool below spraying the area with mist. Surprisingly we carried on and found a few places where the river disappeared into the ground and moving on a little further we could hear the river raging underground.

The falls before Tarawera Falls

Finally we made it to the main attraction, the Tarawera Falls which weren't too shabby. In the middle of a tall cliff face three holes expelled vast quantities of unrelenting water. The cliff face contains lave tunnels from Tarawera eruption so the river makes its way underground and out at the falls. By this time we were all hungry so we made our way back to the lake.

Tarawera Falls

Back at the lake the temperature had dropped so those that didn't walk headed back to base whilst the rest of us had lunch and tucked into Bridget's piklets. It was getting late so we hightailed it out of there and headed back to camp before dark.

That night we popped around the corner from the camp site in our kayaks and visited another hot pool. This time the water temperature wasn't so scolding and enabled us to enjoy a wine or beer while some played hide-the-glostick.

Soaking in the hot pool

Day 3 - Back to Tarawera Landing

We awoke to another great morning however the weather forecast didn't present well with buckets of rain crossing the country. Even so no one really wanted to get back to Auckland so we left well after our planned departure time and weren't in any rush. Upon reaching the landing we decontaminated our kayaks and headed into Rotorua for lunch.

As predicted and at a sensible time sure enough the skies opened but we were already driving back.

Thanks Nick for organising the weekend.