Saturday, 14 April 2012

Hidden Treasure and the Key to a Great Adventure

"Have you ever been given a key to an adventure?
 It may, in fact, not look much like a key at the time that you receive it and could be delivered to you by anyone at all. In my case, the key to a grand adventure came through the gregariously open hand of Gernot, a delightful conversationalist with a myriad friends & a healthy appetite for delicious food and adventure himself.
He can be found at our Farmer's market on any given Sunday...and as it so happens, he just adores hot springs too, or so I discovered during a serendipitous conversation at a birthday party in early March.
And it was during this chat that Gernot told me of the hot springs at Tarawera...Tara-where-a? Well nowhere in particular really, just quite simply a spot halfway between here and Taupo (a two hour drive away). And since that very next week we were to be traveling that very road, I carefully tucked the specified directions into my head and decided to do a little research to see what else I could find out about the Tarawera Springs. I came across some helpful information here  and learned that the pools had been officially closed by DOC in around 1985, but as I scrolled down further I came across a story that sent tingles up & down my spine & that I just couldn't get out of my head....
"What a shame that it's been closed!!! I have been trying to find it's location ever since I heard about this amazing event. About 5 years ago I met an Maori man in Waipukurau when we were doing a computer course together. We were talking about our belief in Angels. He told me that about 15 years before he had stopped at the local pub there one day. His, then, 3 year old son wanted to go to the toilet, so dad had stopped and decided to have a bite to eat while they were there. He told me that while he was up at the bar, he meet a old Maori man he asked him why his son couldn't walk. He told him that his son had a crippling condition, and that he had never been able to walk and that Doctor's said he would be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. The old man suggested that he take the young boy down to the hot pool. When the boy got out of the pool he had gained movement in his legs, which increased over the next month and eventually resulting in the boy walking normally. As he still did as an 18 year old young man. The father had driven back to the pub to tell the man and to thank him, but something really strange happened because when he spoke to the Tavern owner and his wife. They said that they had never seen anyone who fitted the description of this old Maori man but that other people had also told them similar stories. So wish is that another miracle happens and the pools get reopened."

Dianne - New Zealand  
Rating: 10/10   27th December 2006

So now, of course, I really was determined to stop in at the Tarawera Cafe & see if we could locate these legendary waters. Right on the rise, the midway point, we paused in our journey home...oh no closed! Oh well, Gernot said to go around the side of the cafe & along the road for a distance & then there was a 15 minute walk until we reached the off we went, past the house to the left..until we came to a gate & the familiar vistas that I had seen online. Right, walking from here...
Lovely hills, wonderful countryside..
and lots of sheep...perhaps it's over this rise??
but alas, an hour later there was still no sign of hot springs...
 just more lush green grass & the odd thistle or two..
"Oh bother we give up!" (we said together in an Eyeore sort of voice)
On our way back down the driveway we made one last attempt to find our way & asked at the old house out by the road. Finally making myself heard above the boisterous dog chorus, we were informed that the springs were in fact located 10 mins back towards Taupo.
Rob, still forgivingly patient at this point, kindly agreed that we should retrace our steps for one last try.
And no, I was not mistaken, the other place had a large sign saying Tarawera Cafe too!
After making enquiries & a particularly reviving cup of tea we followed new directions at "our own risk" down past this old macrocapa tree.
We gingerly took the car down the track a little way & then gathered our things & set off on foot.
We could hardly believe they were!!!

Utter, magnificent bliss!!

However, I can see that there can be no other status than "officially closed" & I wouldn't personally take children to the pools.
The water is marvelous..
turned Rob's silver wedding ring a deep purple.
There were rosehips
& other bush/hedge row treasures..
 all along the trail back to our car.
The journey home seemed to take no time at all & I slept more restfully than I had in many months.
Our grand adventure was only part way through, however & we were to return a few weeks later to soak again & make some marvelous new discoveries.
You can read about what we found just here....especially if you have a fondness for Katherine Mansfield.


  1. These are such soul purifyingly magical posts- thank you from the wells of all our hearts! Such fabulous photos of you! Like a fairy water creature in her kingdom! I so had you all written up as bohemian through and through! And I am this day going to re-visit katherine Mansfield- it is a long time since I read her last, and then it was at a devouring rate. Now that I know you and have seen the landscape through your eyes, I must read and relish!

  2. How lovely you look in your very own watery world there! lovely post.

  3. What a beautiful spot! X

  4. What an inspiring adventure! I hope one day when my little munchkins are much much bigger (geez that broken bit looked scary - beautiful but scary) and we're taking a drive in that kind of direction on our way to visit family, we might stop and find those springs... For the adventure of it if nothing else! Too often we drive from home to final destination without stopping to enjoy the journey along the way!

    Gorgeous photos - especially your soak in the springs. Truly you looked like you were exactly where you were meant to be. :)

    Last but not least, thank you for your comment, and your encouragement! :)

  5. Oh dear Catherine
    I just want to drop everything right now, hop in the car and drive to Tarawera Hot Springs!
    You are a magical storyteller - I keep telling you that over and over!!!
    I am a total believer of these happenings.

    Mention of the old maori healing man in the pub makes my spine tingle. My father had a lot to do with wonderful maoris up the east coast, and told us some amazing tales.
    True to an Irishman he could weave a magical story too, and I was brought up on these as my bedtime stories, as well as Pooh of course!

  6. Good Morning Catherine ~~ What an amazing post right from the picture of the key! Beautiful country pictures filled with charm and mystery. How wonderful it must have been to slip inside the water...Such a magical story. Made my day.
    Hugs Rosemary...xx
    P.S. I did a new post that blogger did not pick up yesterday. So the easter bunny was 2 weeks ago. :)))


So lovely of you to leave a comment. Thank you!! ♥

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