Visited the Burke Street Wharf in the early morning light, the tide was out and we had very pretty light hitting the remains of the wharf and creating fabulous shadows in the mud flats. All too soon it was time to be off again.
Doubling back on ourselves we drove back through Whatatete Bay, so very beautiful but nowhere to pull up for photos, we came through here the day before but our current destination was closed by the time we went through, so now we made a small detour, so glad we did – Rapaura Watergardens…just beautiful and so calm, serene and cool in the early morning light. Lovely oriental and ornamental gardens, lots of lily pads but it was so early the lotus had not opened until our walk back. These gardens are the vision and creativity of the Loennigs who transformed this 64 acres scrubland into the oasis it is today. They have been working on it since the 1960’s.
There is a lovely walk through the bushland area at the back of the property that goes for quite a while maybe 1.5km, all natural native bushland, tree ferns and native trees and grasses, little bridges over softly running creek, that leads to a waterfall named, The Seven Stairs to heaven.
We then drove to a nearby Butterfly and Orchid Garden in Thames, only to find it had closed down. We stopped at Te Aroha, there are cool metal statues everywhere, a nod to their now mining history.
There is a Soda Geyser here, but I did not find out until after we had left, oh well you cannot see everything. We then headed on to Rotorua, found our hotel, booked in a few attractions and then went for a drive out to Sulphur Bay and then the Redwoods. Our last trip to NZ we spent a few days here, and still wanted more time…so much to see and do.
The Redwood Forest was not as orderly or have the mystical presence ours back home does, there was a lot more light, and walking tracks, but they do have these really cool treetops walks, which were very expensive, sadly I did not find out until afterwards, these get lit up at night, would have made such a pretty photo. The bug? That is one of the giant cicadas they have here, they are everywhere and very loud.
We then wandered around town and did some touristy shopping before heading off for dinner.