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We recently had some friends over from England who wanted to go kayaking in the Lake Taupo region. We had a few days of rain and then one Sunday morning we woke up to clear blue sky day. A quick breakie then onto loading kayaks and gear. I decided to take them to our hidden gem – The Squeeze.
We traveled to our entry point, unloaded gear, geared up, than I gave them a quick kayaking 101 refresher course before heading out on the river. The river had a slight flow, and with a couple of strokes we were gliding through the mirror surface.
We explored the warmth of the thermal springs flowing out of the Waikato River, and many of the geysers & waterfalls along the way (because of the rain the waterfalls were more prevalent too), while looking out for the steam beds as we approached every corner through the gorge.
Half way up the gorge to Orakei Korako we passed a forest of willows and water meadows. There were lots of ducks, as well as geese, swans, shags and other water birds. There were also a number of clusters of water lilies which brightened up the environment. This area appeared a favourite for duck shooters with many hides only accessible by water.
The steam from Orakei Korako became visible so we knew we were close to the main Geyser, we paddled quickly to take a good look and just as we arrived the water came bursting out of the rocks. We sat there taking a good look while warming up our buttocks & legs in the kayaks – luckily the kayaks are quite insulated – definitely a warm feeling.
We continued to paddle downstream to The Squeeze. We hopped out of the kayaks then started to wade through the warm water, through a natural crevice in the volcanic rock with mossy sides with ferns overhead to two beautiful natural hot waterfalls that you can soak under. We continued to walk the track to relax in the natural hot pool with a pumice bottom and surrounded by native bush. No man-made hot pools are as good as this.
We returned to the kayaks and headed back upstream to the end – loaded the kayaks and gear back on trailer, then went into Orakei Korako Café for a coffee and bite to eat, before heading back home to Taupo for some well-deserved kiwi BBQ, beers, and wine with the family.
A great day with big grins and stories to tell everyone.
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