On the road to Rotorua....hug a tree on the way, good karma! The main highways/motorways barely make it over 2 lanes....total! Nice.
Stop in Paeroa, home of L&P, the ubiquitous soft drink in NZ - have a bottle.....yum! Stop near Hobbiton, where some farmer is raking in the cash doing tours of the LOTR set (town is called Matamata....whatsamatamata? Ha ha).
Get to Rotorua after lunch....Phew! The town smells of sulphur....do you stop noticing it after a while? I didn´t! Make a detour to Te Puia, a Maori cultural centre and home of hot springs, smoking ground and boiling mud....although there are parks where you can get a sight...and smell....of some of the more everyday geothermic goings on here.
Do a guided tour, see a real life kiwi - weird little things.....i want one! See some Maori carving and weaving and witness a traditional greeting - not very friendly, all a bit shouty with the tongue thing!
Afterwards go on the luge.....great fun! Hurl ourselves down three different tracks, quite scary at times but well worth it. In between you ride a ski-lift and the views are amazing.
Have f´sh and chips for tea, then conk out back at the hostel.
The next day, we ramp things up another notch....WHITE WATER RAFTING BABY! Get to the place, whack on a wet suit and then drive on down to the river - get a very nice, if slightly crazy guide who loves steering us in to waterfalls and filling the boat. Go over a 7metre waterfall.....i repeat, voluntarily get in a raft and go over a 7m waterfall.....it´s all a blur.....more so for Sharan as she fell/dove out of the boat as we went over. She loved it....odd! So cool, adrenaline was going like anything. That was the big one. There were a couple of smaller drops, one where we all ´surfed´down - standing up in the rafty. Awesome. Got back in to town and went for the obligatory St Patrick´s day pint of Guiness...which wasn´t poured properly! All in a genuinely authentic-esque Irish pub....Rotorua has at least 2.
The next day, back on the Kiwi Bus to Waitomo.