Mud, mud glorious mud – TravelMole true

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Mud, mud glorious mud

Thursday, 07 Mar, 2011 0

Poor Graham doesn’t get a chance to get down and dirty at one of New Zealand’s top tourist spots…

"Well, having left the Bay of Plenty base of Whakatane (pronounced Fackatanny not wackatanny) we went off in search of mud and geysers.

Virtually everyone that knew I was coming to New Zealand said ‘Watch out for the geysers, especially the tasty ones! ha ha’ or ‘Enjoy the mud baths’.

The fact of the matter is that New Zealand is a hot bed of dormant volcanic activity and through this gives rise, literally, to wide areas of hot water geysers and bubbling hot mud pools. The most famous of these is in Rotorua where there are many opportunities to experience both.

In what has been the very first tourist attraction of the parking, queuing, paying kind that we have been to, the Te Puia experience was an interesting one.

You basically walk around a 10-acre park that has several dozen mud puddles, gurgling boiling springs and in the middle a geyser that spouts constantly but more aggressively every 10 or so minutes. Took about 45 minutes to complete, ticked the box, moved on.

Next on the Brit tourism radar was Lake Taupo. Around this area the abundance of natural hot water leads to many interesting uses including massive prawn farms, geo thermal energy production and of course tourism. The Lake itself is massive but again we had a look ticked the box and moved on.

That is not to say that either Lake Taupo or Rotorua could not have offered us more, or were not worth going to, but in the overall scheme of touring around the country you feel a constant calling to see the next thing.

Today was one of those days when the trip to the next destination was the key thing and indeed one of the more enjoyable aspects.

Using a car in New Zealand is not like the UK or the USA. Even though the roads are smaller the general tempo of driving is much slower and easier. It is quite normal for more sedate drivers to pull over to the left and let you pass and the countryside through which you drive is enough to make even Jeremy Clarkson slow down and take in the view (as long as it’s in a car that does no more than 10 miles to the gallon).

For the dedicated picnicker your needs are well catered for with an abundance of clean, well presented tables for which to enjoy the local produce. Mind you don’t expect a huge variety of crispy crunchy freshly baked bread. Kiwi bread is whacking rubbish."

To learn more about New Zealand and be certified for your knowledge, you can take Tourism New Zealand’s online training modules by clicking here

For free resources and details on New Zealand places and product, click here

For a chance to win the Kiwi gift pack in this week’s draw, click here


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Editor in chief Bev Fearis has been a travel journalist for 25 years. She started her career at Travel Weekly, where she became deputy news editor, before joining Business Traveller as deputy editor and launching the magazine’s website. She has also written travel features, news and expert comment for the Guardian, Observer, Times, Telegraph, Boundless and other consumer titles and was named one of the top 50 UK travel journalists by the Press Gazette.

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