This morning everyone’s ready to start working, but about 30 minutes before we’re due to leave, it starts raining. This pauses everything – there are two options for our bosses at this point. Either cancel their teams for the day so they can do something with it, or put them on standby – and have them wait around to see if the rain passes. Our boss is the kind who tries to give us a straight answer, so he calls us off for the day, given us a day off. I really don’t want one, but Krislin has been fighting the cold and really needs a day to sleep and recover, while Bertrand and Norma have been having van trouble and a day to fix it would really come in handy. The rest of us head inside, and I get invited along with Caitlin, Savannah and some newer guys to go check us the hot pools not far from Rotorua.
Kerosene Creek is about 30 minutes south of Rotorua and can be found down a gravel road along the State Highway 5 on the way to Taupo. It’s a natural spring which is geothermally heated and has the added bonus of a small waterfall in the main pool.
I’ve never been to a hot spring before, but I love the feeling. The water is just shy of uncomfortable – perfect bathwater level, and the smell of sulphur is minimal at worst. The water is mostly knee-to-thigh deep, only getting really deep next to the waterfall, where the pressure both sucks you in and shoves you out. If you can clamp onto the rock and get your footing, you can experience a pretty awesome hot massage.
We managed to endure about an hour before we had to drag ourselves out. It’s a lot like a bath, only it never gets cooler, so you stay hot, and get exhausted just from sitting in the water. We take half an hour to try and recover, before heading in one more time and heading off. There’s also a mud pool a little further along the path (a lot of mountain bikes come through so must be a few tracks), but we weren’t in the mood to continue.
Our final stop of the day was in Rotorua, where we hunted down a Warehouse so that Savannah could buy a few things for camping and I could buy a few more dirt cheap tops for work. I have missed having big brand name stores within walking distance – also grab some cards for some important dates coming up and new underwear (don’t judge, I’m just getting tired of having to do a really expensive wash once a week). Savannah was equally successful, grabbing a sleeping bag and a pan for $5. Caitlin also grabbed some storage boxes for her van, and we headed home…only stopping at the drive through at McDonalds for chocolate fudge sundaes and apple pies since we were so exhausted and needed the sugar – don’t underestimate how much hot water can sap your strength.
All in all, it was a really good day. I finally managed to get out of the backpackers and see part of NZ that I wouldn’t easily get to without a car, and got some extra supplies. The only downside was that the weather managed to become beautiful in the afternoon, so if our boss had put us on standby, we could have gone picking in the afternoon. At least the weather means we should be picking tomorrow.