Our budget doesn’t allow costly tours and concessions but we chose to visit Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland (yes, I know), a commercial operation of extreme and colorful geothermal features, all named, of course, but concentrated in a fairly small area that made for a nice morning wander, coffee in hand. Neither of us has been to Yellowstone or Iceland and this kind of geology is rare on the earth.
The self-guided walking tours culminate in a 20-meter geyser that erupts daily — with a little help from a park attendant and some soap — that sets off a flurry of selfie stick activity that eventually drove us back to the parking lot. Still, the scenery was from Mars.
We did a driveby visit to the Huka Falls in Taupo, picked up picnic foods and enjoyed lunch at Taupo Bungee on the Waikato River. Neither of us has any desire to bungee but it was fun to watch a group of friends cheer each other on and celebrate their nerve, definitely more entertaining than a restaurant meal.
The day was getting gloomy and we decided to knock off a bit of driving instead of do more touring in what turned out to be a chilly drizzle and we turned toward Napier, watched over most of the way by increasingly large herds of sheep.