After dragging myself away from the lovely bay of islands I've spent a couple of days in mercury bay another small costal location and the last 3 days in rotorua a town based on a geothermal site which smells somewhat of boiled eggs but has some cool hot pools, spas and geysers and a good amount of activities on offer.
In mercury bay we really had only the 1 full day to play with so our little group of 3 currently (Me, Rich and Ben) headed off on a bike ride along the coast to see some of the different bays and coves on offer. New zealand is pretty hilly so the 20 mile ride was a bit of work but was rewarding as we snorkeled in a cove we found, within 10 minutes I saw some fish with bright markings, some pretty big crayfish (about 2ft) and a few tiny squid (about 7cm) which is a rarer sight and was really cool. We also cycled to a hot water beach where if you dug in the right place in the sand you could make your own hot pool to relax in, this lasted for about 10 mins before the first lot of baking hot sand dug right from the bottom was thrown :) civilized as we are.
In rotorua I've been zorbing on weds with both rich and ben which meant a big plastic ball filled with some water and 3 idiots which was then pushed down a big hill at a good speed, a couple of bruised ribs and a good helping of fun. We then spent the evening at a cultural maori display, concert and traditional meal (hangi - cooked with steam while buried underground) which gives you a good feel for the maori culture and is definately recommendable.
Yesterday we went down a luge on carts which involved 2 of the 5 in our group managing to crash and the rest doing their best to come close, I also found a decent sized climbing wall here and managed to get a good session in to qwell my withdrawl symptoms.
This morning I did some downhill mountain biking in the redwood forest as they have professional tracks which are apparently some of the best in the country and were certainly hazardous enough. I mostly did grade 4 out of 6 which is classed as intermediate and involved steep descents, thin paths, a shed load of bumps and trees to dodge, loads of small jumps and hops and even a couple of 4ft ish jumps which I managed to take. All of this and although I came close plenty, I only stacked it 3 times :), once after mentally celebrating surviving one of these big jumps only to clip the tree waiting just after it. All in all a whole lot of fun and only minor bruises . Was hoping to do some sledging (going down white water rapids in a wetsuit, flippers and just with something a bit like a bodyboard) but apparently theres not enough water for it today so I'll have to save this for another time .
Peter: Thx man, yes I agree thats the best part, plus the activities, I definately plan to make more use of the diving and should get a few chances to . Where did you do your travelling around?
Ben: Hey bro, I hope to continue that trend. You should deff go for that diving course I can tell you now that you'll love it just cos of the way you love exploring and discovering the same as me. Would have loved to do some of this stuff with you bud, but also know that the timing has to be right and I think you made the right decision for now. Looking forward to NUFAN and catching up with you when I get back.
Matteo: Hey dude, why that's the purpose of my trip of course, tho I notice you didn't say 'hard at work' :) Will definately take you up on that offer and will make sure to bore you with all the details tho you have most of them already.
Emma: Heya, thx for all the messages, its really nice to know you're following my travels and have an interest. Well done on all that success in badminton that's really great news. I'll look forward to congratulating you properly on my return. xXx xXx xXx
My hostel here has a natural hot pool so I'm off now to do some relaxing in that :).
Catch you all soon.