My aim for the day is to head south to see bits around Taupo. First Orakei Korako, described as one of the best thermal valleys in New Zealand. It's across Lake Ohakuri from the road access and visitors' centre, so the start of the journey is by boat, which adds a little mystique to the visit. I'm also the day's first visitor, so I've got the entire valley to myself.

It's pretty low-key, with mostly boardwalk across the the silica and surrounding landscape. There's a paper map as part of the entrance price which points out the key features such as the clearly Cockney-named "Diamond Geyser".

It's impressive enough, but I suspect whoever called it the best site in New Zealand didn't see it in the dreich - the colours of the mineral deposits laid down in the sinter ledges are not exactly vibrant right now. There's a continual sound of trickling water as the geysers come and go across the geyser field.

It takes about an hour to see it all, and then I nip off to my next planned stop, a jet boat. Unfortunately, when I get there I'm the only punter and they're not going to run it just for me. More fortunately, there are a few bookings later on so there'll be an outing in the afternoon. At the suggestion of the Rapids Jet representative, I fill the time remaining by jumping off the side of a cliff.

Taupo Bungy makes some claim to be an original of some sort. It's in a spectacular setting over the Waikato River, with the steep cliffs dropping down to the blue water below.

I'm weighed - twice - (and it turns out I'm 5kg heavier than when I had the medical for my Saudi visa). I'm invited to step out onto the platform dangling in mid-air, and attached to to a glorified rubber band. I continue to successfully ignore the voice telling me this isn't a good idea as I shuffle over to the edge and right up until the countdown reaches zero. My brain then refuses to obey as I'm invited to hurl myself into space with no visible means of survival. I ask the bloke to count again and overrule my survival instincts as I dive into oblivion.

After a short period of terror and a longer period of dangling, I'm lowered down in a fairly undignified manner into the waiting boat. It's slightly anticlimactic, possibly I over-built it. Perhaps I might be better placed to appreciate the experience after conquering my first jump. More research needed.

The jet boat's up at 2, and it turns out to be almost a full house. Wonderfully, the boat has a heated handrail. As you might expect, it's pretty nippy and we get our allocated time playing in the rapids on the Waikato River. It's great fun zooming down the channel, carefully missing rocks and branches by a narrow margin. All good fun, but as something else I've been looking forward to, it's not quite all that. Particularly in the rapids, it's clear where the machine's limits are, which makes it all feel a little calculated. Still, a fun outing for all that.

So I'm ready at 3ish to start the drive to my next destination, the Coromandel Peninsula. But I accidently get distracted by the sign to Huka Falls. It's a swift, pleasant diversion.

By contrast, the drive to Coromandel is long and tedious in the dark and rain. I decide to call an end to it at Thames, at the root of the peninsula. I stop at one of the first motels I see, which turns out to be a mistake.

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