First look outside revealed more cloud so not in a hurry to head out, but eventually weather started clearing up. Headed into downtown for a coffee and some planning after a wander around the city park that has a number of thermal features. Was keen to check out some more without having to pay a small fortune and after much procrastination decided to head 20 mins south to Waimangu. Ended up being an inspired guess – its a small valley that erupted in the 1880s and several times since so the whole area has only been thermally active since then and all the vegetation in the area has taken hold just in that time frame.
They’ve got a great self guided walk setup with detailed notes and some truly stunning features to gawk at, walking in dense diverse forest along the way. Takes about an hour and a half to wander down the valley to the new lake that drowned 2 smaller lakes and old volcanic terraces and then you can catch a shuttle bus back up to the top of the valley. And if you want more there’s a boat cruise that takes in some other features that can only be seen from the lake.
Back to the southern outskirts of Rotorua then it was off toward the coast. Decided to retrace some of Thursdays ride route in reverse as we really couldn’t see much in the rain, and while it was pretty country it never would have been the highlight of the ride regardless of the weather. Hit the coast about 30 km past Whakatane and from here it was a fast run to Tauranga. Checked into a cabin then headed downtown for an outstanding spaghetti marinara – baked in its own little bowl with a light pizza dough topping.