From the balloon, I could see the Waikato river, Huka Falls, Lake Taupo, the steam rising from the Craters of the Moon, sheep (if you've read my other New Zealand pages, you may have noticed that I quite like sheep :-)), little cars and tiny people... it was a lot of fun.
The absolute highlight of my New Zealand trip was flying in a hot air balloon over the Taupo area. The flight itself was fantastic, like floating in air, the scenery was amazing (Lake Taupo, Huka Falls, Craters of the Moon thermal area) and my pilot, Peter, was a really nice guy, who obviously knew what he was doing. We even landed in someone's garden for a second as he was showing me how well the balloon's movement could be controlled (it was around 7.a.m., and the family was quite surprised to see a huge balloon landing in their front yard, but they were nice about it). At the end of the flight we managed to land quite smoothly and had a great champagne breakfast together.
We walk from the coach to the little bridge over the river. Icy green glacier water is tumbling over rocks underneath us. Walking a little further down the path, the falls become spectacular, even though they aren't high. Masses of water in the most incredible colour creating a lovely white surf as it cascades over the edge. Much better than I expected!
We head out of town today, past the geothermal valleys. It really is quite amazing to be driving along and suddenly spotting steam coming out of the ground and water spurting above the bushes.
We stop to view Wairakei Geothermal Powertation which is very interesting. This power statio was the first station in the world to utilise flash steam from geothermal water as an energy source to generate electricity.
It was great to see the Taupo area from above: the new perspective further emphasised the beauty of New Zealand's nature.
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