All posts by funnycrow

Taupo: 5N6D

A rather standard itinerary for those visiting Taupo, New Zealand. Adventure sport and fantastic sceneries are the highlights for this trip

Day 1

A 5 hour bus drive from Auckland will take you to Taupo. From the bus stop head to the accommodation. Visit lake Taupo and enjoy the rest of the day by the lake. Relax with a book by the lake or enjoy a picnic. If you are looking for something to do,  try your hand at ‘Hole-in-One or follow a trail.

Day 2

Visit Orakei Korako in the morning followed by lunch at a cafe. Then head to Huka Falls. There are lots of activities to do here including a jet ride and a visit to see the Maori rock carvings. You either spend the rest of the day at a bath or return back to your accommodation.

Day 3

Visit Mangakino which is a 40 minute drive from Taupo. If you are an adventure enthusiast you will have a range of activities at you disposal. From walks and bike trails to extreme sport, Mangakino has quite a few options. However. if this does not appeal to you consider a visit to Pa Harakeke. They have a number of eco-tours and activities which allow you to experience the timber trail as well as plant your own tree.

Day 4

You may choose to stay at Taupo and carry out white water rafting, bungy jumping or sky diving or you can head to  Turangi Tongariro. Turangi has a lot of outdoor activities similar to that of Taupo and Mangakino. The area around Turangi has some interesting cultural and historical sites. You can also take a guided tour to Mount Ruapehu’s crater.  You may either choose to return back to Taupo or head to Tongariro National Park where you can stay on site.

Day 5

If you have chosen to visit the National Park then depending on your level of fitness you may opt to do the Alpine Crossing which has been considered to be a ‘bucket-list’ activity. There is indoor climbing, rafting, biking as well as scenic flights to opt for while at the Park.

Day 6

Today you can return back to Auckland, travel to Taupo or perhaps continue to stay on at the National Park.

 

Door To Hell

Experience man’s ability to actually create hell on earth! 

Door to Hell
Did you know that the village of Darweze no longer exists because the president of Turkmenistan felt it was a hindrance to tourism in the area?
Location: Derweze, Ahal Provience, Turkmenistan 
Tell Me More!!!

When Soviet scientists discovered gas resources in the Karakum Desert, they quickly got their equipment together to begin drilling. However, the ground beneath the site collapsed! This accident led to the formation of a huge crater which had major consequences. The release of methane gas was a major concern for the villagers of Darweze who lived not so far away from the crater,

Two strategies were suggested to get rid of excessive methane. Extraction; which was a dangerous lengthy process, or burning methane by setting fire to the crater which would be easier but environmentally damaging (Methane=Greenhouse gas=Global Warming). Scientists opted for the latter suggestion because it was easier. As per their calculations, the fire was to last for not more than a few days.

Forty-Three years later this crater – approximately 230 feet in diameter and growing – continues to burn and has thus been named ‘Door To Hell’. The 1971 man-made disaster has now become a rather bizarre tourist attraction. The government of Turkmenistan plans on closing this crater in order to continue with drilling, however these plans are yet to be finalized.

Best Time To Visit?!?!?

Considering that you will be traveling through a desert to see this ignited gas crater; avoid visiting during summers! Winters can get really cold at times so plan your trip accordingly. March to May and September to November are better months to visit Darweze. Visiting the crater at night will make your experience more dramatic and memorable.

How To Get There?

The adventurous may like to set out on their own with a rented vehicle, however it is safest to have a local accompany you. Alternatively, you could take a tour from Ashgabat. The journey to the crater is bumpy, about 3 hours long and requires a four-wheel-drive. If you don’t have the right vehicle, you may end up walking through sand dunes for 45 to 50 minutes to get to the crater.

Companies like DN Tours organize weekend overnight trips to the crater where you can have dinner under the stars and even spend the night in a yurt.

Is That Is???

Ashgabat is a new city with a tragic history. The earthquake of 1948 flattened the city, killing almost two-thirds of its population. The city may not have much to attract the tourist, but for a traveler, the experience will definitely be worth the visit. Apart from its numerous marble structures and a bazaar, the city enjoys its horse-racing. You can also visit the archaeological site of Nisa which was once the ancient capital of the Parthian Empire. While in the Karakum Desert, stop by the mud crater and water crater located not too far away from the Door to Hell.

Verdict!

Door to Hell is interesting to hear about, but trying to withstand the hot desert temperatures which escalates even higher when you stand right next to the crater, coupled with the smell of burning sulfur is something you may not want to experience. It does after all seem like….. PURE HELL!!!!

Spotted Lake (Khiluk)

Known for its kaleidoscopic look and therapeutic powers, the spotted lake is a marvel and rarity. 

Spotted Lake
Did you know that Spotted Lake has 365 spots?
Location: Okanagan Valley, Osoyoos, British Columbia, Canada
Tell me more!!!

The spotted lake is known for its high mineral content. These minerals are responsible for the lake’s continual change in appearance. During summers, evaporation takes place, thus leaving behind mineral pools which look like colourful spots depending on the composition of minerals and the angle of sunlight.

Okanagan First Nations people (Aborginal people of Canada), regard this lake as sacred because of its therapeutic powers which is known to heal almost any kind of illness.

Best Time To Visit?

This rare phenomenon occurs when evaporation takes place which is why late spring or early summer would be the best time to plan your outing. During the hottest months of summer, the lake is almost dry and therefore will sport a different look.

Restrictions!?!?

Visitors are not allowed to enter the premises and there are no tours in particular that include a visit to this lake. However,  if you are really interested the OIBDC may be able to help you out.

Is That It?

If you are visiting Osoyoos, arrange for a trip to a winery or vineyard. This can also be combined with horse riding and a visit to the cultural centre which has an abundance of information about the area. Apart from this, you can also enjoy a game of golf, a day at the spa and adventure sports.

Verdict

Though closed to the public, Spotted Lake is worth the journey. Efforts are being made to improve facilities and provide tourists with historical and cultural information. Be sure to plan your visit before traveling if you really want to witness odd lake behavior.