On Friday morning we got up and packed a bag for the weekend as we were going with Nan to stay in Roturua at her friend Alf's place. We stopped of at a few picturesque places on the way taking a few photos, and then arrived in Roturua. Immediately we could smell the eggy smell of the Sulphur in the air, which we soon got used to. We drove down Alf's road, admiring all the houses on the street (they were pretty big). We were greeted by his 2 dogs Maddy and Jess. We had some lunch then Nan took us on a little drive around the Roturua lake and we stopped at some lookouts over green lake and blue lake. We then returned back to Alf's for dinner where we had New Zealand Lamb, freshly slaughtered from Alf's Garden the day before, and also met Ben and Lauren who were lodging with him.
On the Saturday morning Uncle Tony and Becky arrived so we had a good catch up and a play outside for a few hours. We then went into Roturua and had a walk around the lake front market. Before grabbing some lunch at a local café. We then headed to the Polynesian Spa and had a relax in the hot sulphur pools which were right next to the lake, it was lovely. We then returned back to Alf's to change, and headed out for the evening to a Mauri dinner. We got picked up by a bus and were taken to the centre where we had a look in the gift shop and at a few artefacts. Then another bus took us out to the Mauri village, where a chief was selected for the evening (no one from our group thankfully). Our chief had to greet the Mauri chief upon entering the village, then we were given time to walk around the village and watch some demonstrations going on in little huts. I had a go at a traditional Mauri stick game and then did the Huka dance. We were shown where our food was being cooked - underground! We were then led to a hall where we watched some traditional Mauri singing and dancing, and then we were taken to the dining hall to eat a feast of chicken, lamb, veggies and potatoes, and steamed pudding and pavalova mmmmmm. All cooked under ground……. Well not the pavalova that wouldn't have turned out right.
On the Sunday (Easter!) we began the day with an Easter egg hunt in the garden which me and Rachel had put some clues together. It was boys (me and Tony) against girls (Rachel and Becky). The girls won, with us close behind, then the final test was to answer Nan's clue and to run round one of the flower beds and then find the big choc rabbit. Me and Becky raced for………. I did not realise 10 year olds could run so fast otherwise I would have sent Tony, after falling to my knees and crawling the last few meters I got to where the bunny was…..It was already in Becky's hands, she later told me she came top of the schools cross country run, she could have told me that before. After enjoying lots of chocolate Alf took us all (apart from Tony who was left doing a paper for Uni) on a tour around Roturua looking at different areas that had volcanic activity. He took us to an entrance to a Maori town where his Grandad was listing on the wall as living there. Then he drove us down a street with steam coming up in all directions and showed us where a house once stood before a hole opened up and it got swallowed into the steam. He then took us to a thermal village that had a beautiful church overlooking the lake and a traditional Mauri Meeting Hall. We then headed back for a BBQ dinner and a nice relax.
On Easter Monday (8th April) me and Rachel got up early and drove to a ferry port, we then got a free coffee and cake for being a member of Top 10 and then headed to a boat to go to White Island (New Zealand's only active volcano in the ocean. The boat journey was about an hour and on the way out it was very choppy, lots of people were carrying around sick bags, including Rachel. We eventually arrived at White Island and we followed our tour leader around the volcano while she explained about the different parts. Smoke was everywhere it was definitely active. She told us to take cover behind some rocks if it errupted as there was no point running for the boat because it would have gone, and would return later to see if there were survivors… this made us feel safe! The tour was great, we saw smoke holes, hot mud baths, a giant crator and lake, and an old destroyed factory where they used to mine for sulphur. After the tour we boarded our boat again after a scarey quick ladder climb into a speed boat with massive waves crashing against the rocks. The boat then took us back to safe land, with a free packed lunch and calmer waters for the return.
That evening we enjoyed a BBQ dinner and watched a bit of TV before bed.