Last weekend we went for a short roadtrip to Rotaroua. You can really tell when you are getting close to the town because of the smell of rotten eggs. The smell is not that pleasant but just a 25 minute drive from the city you will find Wai-O-Tapu that is considered to be New Zealand’s most colorful and diverse geothermal sightseeing attraction. Also listed by Trip Advisor as one of the 20 Most Surreal Places in the World. And yes it feels a bit surreal when you are walking around the park, seeing all the different pools, all in the same area, so much variety in just an one hour walk. Some of the geothermal springs are orange, others yellow or toxic green! There are boiling mud pools and a geyser there as well. So you’ll see gas pouring up from underground all over the area, just like people has been lighting fires in the forest… but it’s all from the springs around the area. If you are around the area you should pay this place a visit. It is well worth it, but make sure to be there just when they open, at 8:30 in the morning to get the place for yourself and avoiding all the tourist buses that will get there just in time when you’re finishing up.
A couple of months back we played a special round of UNO with some good friends. To intensify the game we made a deal that the winner of UNO would decide a destination for us all to travel to, and the tickets had to be booked the same night. We were really close to booking ticket to Malawi that night but a strong finish made Iceland the winner. So the same night we booked tickets for a weekend and little did we know it was going to be our best so far.
Iceland is in many ways unique, the emptiness, the silence, the great outdoors. A place filled with magical waterfalls, snowy mountains, steaming hot springs and black sand beaches. To get the most out of our short visit we spent a night in Reykavik, eating amazing food then rented a 4×4 car and set of for adventure.
Our first day we hiked over the mountains and across a thermal spring area to find these amazing natural hot springs. It was probably the most memorable thing of the trip, being submerged in 40°C water in the middle of nowhere surrounded by mountain tops. The next day we discovered a crash site of an old american navy airplane. It felt like being on another planet, black sand as long as the eyes could see. We also had time to walk on Iceland’s largest glacier Vatnajökull and go for a morning ride with icelandic horses.
We really think Iceland is the country to not miss in Europe… but please, bring real outdoor clothes and don’t expect to see the sun shine. (According to the locals, we were very lucky with the weather, they told us the weekend before a big sand storm ripped the paint of rental cars).