Today we left Waitomo for Rotorua. Got there late afternoon and found our hostel - were immediately hit by the characteristic smell - rotten eggs! (from all the geothermal activity and sulphur). Nice! Had a bit of an explore in the evening and found an Irish Pub where we got some dinner and wine and spent the evening watching an Irish Band playing! Met some locals who were nice and had a sing song to the clover song!
Today we had a lazy morning after a late night and then went out to visit a thermal village - Whakarewarewa! long enough name! We had a tour of the place where we saw lots of bubbling hot pools and steamed boxes in the ground which they use to cook because the ground is so hot. (had a corn on the cob cooked in one of them). Also saw a huge steaming geysers and some smelly mud pools! was all pretty impressive! in the evening we went for a walk around a park near the hostel, went to a noodle bar and then went to see lake roturua in the sunset which was pretty!
Today we went on a trip to Hells Gate thermal reserve (supposedly the smelliest place in roturua!). Had a tour around there in the morning and saw more impressive geothermal stuff - mud pools, steaming rocks, and a hot waterfall. Also had the chance to have a mud foot bath which was kind of weird - it was really slimy but supposedly very good for your skin! didnt feel like i had very clean feet after! they were grey! In the afternoon we went up the roturua gondola and did luge riding down! it like toboganning and really fun -especially going fast down the steep bits! In the evening we went to a Maori evening concert and dinner which was really good. Saw a Maori show where they sang, danced the haka and told us about the culture and traditions and got a really nice dinner of hangi food (means cooked in the ground - steamed from all the heat). Chicken, lamb, speciality sweet potato, salads galore and chocolate roulade for pudding! Then had a tour of the woods in the dark and saw more glowworms! all really good!
27th 28th Jan
Had a few extra days in Roturua as we had booked to do a tour of White Island volcano on Tuesday. On Sunday we spent the morning doing bookings and then in the afternoon planned to go to the Agrodome to watch the sheep show that was performed there! When we got there though we found there was another farm show / fayre going on which was free! There were several stalls selling crafty bits and food and drink (we got some strawberry wine!) and a sheep shearing competition happening! We spent the afternoon there and watched the sheep shearing which was quite entertaining - these men were competing to see who could shear their sheep the quickest! They were so quick! there were some english farmers competing but they lost against the kiwis! Then in the evening we just went out to dinner and packed up as we were moving hostels in the morning. Then on monday we had quite a quiet day but found a funny blues music festival going on in the afternoon - it was a bank holiday and lots of people were there sitting in the sun drinking and listening to the live bands. We spent the afternoon there and kind of adopted a cute little boy who took a liking to us. We spent most of the time playing with him!
Today was our trip to White Island - an active volcano! got up early and had a private mini bus journey to Whakatane - where we got a boat from. The boat took us to White Island and we saw dolphins on the way - right up close to the edge of the boat jumping in and out of the water (babies too!). Once we arrived we had a guided tour of the volcano itself. We warned when we arrived about what we should do if it started erupting - run!! it was really impressive - saw the big crater lake and steaming vents and stuff! i managed to fall over and injure my knee so i left a mark there! got left behind from the tour as the guide took ages trying to clean it up so i got a bit of a private tour after! shame we only had hard hats and gas masks to wear and not knee pads! after the tour we got lunch on the boat and could go for a swim if we wanted, then made our way back to the mainland where we got the bus back to rotorua. Spent the evening packing up ready to leave for Taupo in the morning.