We drove down to Taupo from Auckland, making a day of it visiting various sites along the way. Much of New Zealand is results of volcanic activity during the development of the earth. We stopped in Rotorua It is always interesting to see the geysers, cauldrons and the hot mud baths,it reminded us of Yellowstone National Park (small version) , a little hot for relaxing in!
On to Taupo we arrived at the Ambleside B&B and met our wonderful hosts Pat and Russell Jensen. They greeted us with an offer of tea and coffee. Janice and Bunny went with the tea and Russell offered wine for Pete and John. We enjoyed an hour or so of great conversation. They both were so interesting discussing their travels and their lives in New Zealand. They reared two sons on a farm not far from Hawks Bay raising sheep and deer. Pat taught elementary school. They sold the farm about 20 years ago and built the home which is also the bed and breakfast.
Russell told us of the reasons for getting out of the farming business. He was very successful in supplying venison to Germany. When the nuclear accident happened at Chernobyl, the Germans stopped importing venison, mostly because they thought it all came from Russia. The sale of lamb was not strong enough to make it worth the effort. An example was a discussion with a butcher from Norway, he could supply lamb at a price of 20% of what the butcher paid in Norway, the problem was Norway would not allow imports of lamb. We learned that raising lambs is not that easy, when the mothers are fat and pregnant and giving birth and can’t jump up quickly the hawks will come down and peck their eyes out. The farmers are constantly hunting the hawks.
The next morning we were served a breakfast that was just fantastic, not the traditional English heavy breakfast, but lighter and wonderful. Pat offered to do our laundry for a nominal fee so we put together all our clothes and left them with Pat, it was a great surprise! We headed out to play golf at Wairakei Golf Club. When we returned from golf Pat and Russ told us we could use their hot tub. The hot tub is heated by the geothermal waters that run under their property and out to the lake. Russ built a pumping system that brings the water to the tub. It is the first hot tub we have seen that you have to put cold water in to cool it down!
We drove back to the house and were a bit exhausted so we order pizza from a local restaurant. Janice was happy to take a dip in the hot tub since her hip has been painful in the last several weeks, it was terrific. The pizza was delivered and we had dinner on the patio, it was a lovely, but we were exhausted and it was an early evening.. The next morning Pat served us another brilliant breakfast with home made bread and cereal…WOW..it was time to say goodbye but we will stay in touch with them for years to come. If you plan a trip to New Zealand and the Taupo area this is a must stay B&B!
Pat and Russ suggested that we go see the Hula Falls on our way out of town.