Heading down from the Bay of Islands we stopped off in Auckland to buy some clothes that may be suited for the colder weather and we then headed off to Rotorua. We were warned that it was a 4 hour drive and we might want to stay somewhere in between but since we had driven for 29 hours straight in Australia I think we were going to be able to cope with the drive south! We were also told about Rotorua having a certain smell to it, something to do with the Thermal activity of the area and we may smell a bit of sulphur every now and again! We finally arrived, and drove along the main street into the town and we got our first wiff of the sulphur (smelly eggs) and Charlotte nearly threw up! We got to where we were staying and were over joyed that our campsite didnt stink!
Our first day in Rotorua took us to a Thermal Park, which was a walk through an area that had a large amount of thermal activity going on. The park was Waimangu (at this point I need to point out that alot of things in New Zealand have Maori names which of I can pronounce none of them). The walk took us past lots of large lake with bubbling water and steam coming off the surface because of the heat of the water and also showed us where vlcanoes had erupted in the past and changed the landscape of the area. Very educational and outdoorsy, apparently what New Zealand is all about!
That night we went to a Maori village for a bit of culture. With all villages that are run by traditional polyensian influence the tribe has to accept new visitors into the village. This is where audience participation begins. There where 4 coaches of people at the village and each coach had a chief, our coachs chief was me! For the villagers to accept the new guests, they went through their dancy stuff which involved them shouting and stamping their legs and waving about big sticks. This is the only way I can explain it, facing 4 huge Maroi guys who run out screaming and waving big sticks in the air is kind of intimidating! But I stood firm and scared them off and they lets us in the have a wee look around their 'village'. Then there was a show and they explained a few things about their culture. Then the best part of the night occured, dinner! This was a massive buffet of lots of food which i ate lots of! Then desert came out and there was pavalova, which i think i ate a whole one of by myslef! Good night!
Our last day in Rotorua, we walked about a large park on the edge of the town which had a lot of fenced off areas which had steam just flowing out the ground, there was also a few lakes and small pools of water that were bubbling. around the park the things to look at werent that amazing by themselves but to see all this steam coming out of the ground was mind boggling.
Also in Rotorua, we went Zorbing, a great new craze! I wasnt that fussed about going Zorbing but Charlotte really wanted to so I decided to give it ago! We opted to go together, in a aqua Zorb, bascially they threw in alot of water into the bottom so you slid about. Looking at the hill we were going to go down it didnt look that long or steep, until we got to the top then it looked long and steep! After the guy had filled the zorb with enough water, he gave the command, dive on in. With this I looked at Charlotte who had a nervous confused look on her face, a change from the scared nervous looked she had on her face since we decided we were doing it! and dived on in, Charlotte looked at it a bit more and half heartly jumped at it, and well got stuck! After a bit of pulling, she finally got in, then we had to stand up and walk the ball off the edge of the hill. If you havent seen a zorb before it is a plastic equivalent of the Atlaspheres from Gladiators, and then we went rolling down the hill! After trying to stand up a couple of times and falling on Charlotte I decided to sit down and slide about inside sitting down. Just as much fun. Zorbing was loads of fun and highly recommnedable! Not sure about the normal one as that would just make you dizzy!
Next stop was Taupo, extreme sport capital of the world!
Taupo is a small little town that sits on th edge of Lake Taupo funnily enoguh. In Taupo I hoped to do a skydive, so we headed upto the airfield where there were 3 companies who offered the dive with various packages which included tshirt pictures and dvd etc. We unintentionally booked in with a company for a couple of hours later that day, Charlotte even booking in as well! We went back into town to get some lunch and think about what we had done! Then we phoned up to make sure that everything was still on the go, only to find out that the dive had been cancelled due to bad weather! With the bad news we booked onto a dive the next morning and then mopped about for the rest of the day! Slowly the next morning came around and we went and phoned the skydive company, only again to be told that the dive had been cancelled due to bad weather! We were both gutted but we looked on the bright side, we wouldnt be throwing ourselves out of a plane and we were going to save ourselves $500. With this sad news we decided to walk around the lake a little to see the most of it we could by land and then headed south to Wellington.