National Parks, New Zealand
Orakei-Korako as it is known in Maori is not, as you may imagine by the name, a by-passed tourist attraction.
Indeed, at $28 per head it's not cheap. The fee includes the ferry ride across the river which goes virtually on demand so there's no waiting.
Rosemarie and I had expected much from our thermal experience and, as I later found out, Lonely Planet had waxed lyrical about this place. In the beginning there was colour as you moved up the well laid out walkway. After that you got some steam, some bubbling, some unusual shapes, a cave at the top and a nice vantage point or two.
However, somehow we just couldn't get as excited as we had anticipated we might. No spouting geyser, no gushing hot waterfall. No, it was all a little too subdued for our taste and the price of the entry fee grated on our conscience.
Fondest memory: It is certainly an attraction, but a $28 one? I don't think so. Of all the things in New Zealand, I have to say the thermal springs for me has been the most disappointing. We also tried the Valley of the Moon later on but couldn't get overly excited there either.
They were interesting and I'm glad I've seen them but, unlike Coromandel or Queenstown, it's not a place I'd visit again.
My favourite things in New Zealand are definitely all the natural attractions. Waterfalls, beaches, forests, mountains, glaciers, geysers and mudpools, just to name a few.
New Zealand has many National Parks and I would recommend planning your trip around these national parks if you are into that sort of thing of course, but I bet you are, since that is what NZ is all about. My favourite National Parks are Fiorland NP and Abel Tasman NP on the South Island, and Tongariro NP on the North Island.