Oh my goodness today was mental. We hit the road round 6:30, having to be in Rotorua by 9. By 9:05 I found myself inside a Zorb ball filled with warm water flying down a steep slope. Insane fun, we each had three goes rolling down different parts of a grassy hill- one side made for speed, the other for zigzagging fun. As one of our fellow Zorbers put it- you feel like a hamster having the best day of his life.
Back in the van and twenty minutes down the road we came to Agroventures, the place to go if you have a need for speed. We were strapped into the fastest jet boat in NZ- 0 to 100kmph in just a few seconds, and taken for the ride of our lives around the 1km racetrack. We'll upload a video- for some reason I lost all control of my right leg which kept on trying to escape the boat.
We both decided to do the bungee to help prepare us for the Nevis jump we are planning to do in Queenstown. Neither of us had bungeed before and looking back at the video I'm still surprised that I actually did it. Stell went first and after a few false starts and silly questions, "how do I do it?" was later told that she had great form. What I lacked in form I made up for in bravery, after just one false start I was falling through the air, letting loose a very un-Carly scream which Stell found incredibly funny. I'm so glad we did it- so much fun and such a rush! The staff make you feel very safe and keep you laughing (albeit nervously) right up until you've reached the tipping point of no return. My advise- don't over think; just do it, it feels great.
Back in the van, and another 20 minutes later I was in yet another wetsuit. White water rafting is something that I'd always wanted to try; it seemed like so much fun racing down foamy rapids with your paddle as your only weapon against the surging, violent waters below. I was up and keen for the challenge, until our guide told us we would be facing the highest commercially rafted drop in the world, a huge grade five, seven metre drop. Twice. That's right; two in a row, one after the other- with a cheeky four-metre drop in between. We were in the boat from hell, there were six tourists and one guide, who admitted in the first five minutes of the trip that we were the worst group he'd had all year. Stell and I were in the front; setting the pace for the other rowers behind us- I genuinely think we did a good job keeping synchronised. The people sitting behind us were absolute idiots, the girl behind Stell kept screaming "you're rowing the wrong way!" then realising that it was her that was rowing backwards instead of forwards, apologising, then doing it again two minutes later. The guy behind me was in his fifties, American and had the bushiest eyebrows I've ever seen. He was one of those older gentlemen who wanted to pause everything we were doing every few seconds to de-brief what we had just done, and re-confirm with everyone what we were about to do. Kind of like watching a movie with my dad just much more frustrating as it's hard to put the breaks on when you're roaring down rapids. The other two nutters we were sharing the boat with were a near-sighted, colour-blind dude who stopped speaking after the first wave, and a lady in her sixties who was so scared I don't think I saw her open her eyes once- and who later proclaimed that she wished it had gone longer and that the rapids were smaller than she expected.
It was hilarious; if I hadn't had to row then I would have been rolling round in the bottom of the boat holding my sides laughing. The guide, Kristi, was amazing and kept us afloat with apparent ease. This, I think, was the highlight for me today, I was thoroughly entertained by things both in and out of the boat, and the drops were such great fun. The staff at Kaitiaki Adventures are absolute pros, I'd recommend them for anybody wanting to raft in NZ.
The day didn't stop there, after drying off we were back in our Jucy van, this time heading towards the centre of Rotorua for some luge action. At this point in the day I was actually just keen for a shower and a cup of tea but luging was actually the perfect way to cap the day. We caught the Skyline Gondola to the top of Mount Ngongotaha, which provides a great view of lake Rotorua. From the top you can see hundreds of small puffs of what looks like smoke but is actually giant stem vents in the earth, letting out sulphur smelling clouds from extremely hot underground springs. The springs are another big attraction for Rotorua, many people coming to stay to enjoy the healing waters.
We enjoyed three luges, the best being the advanced run, which actually allows you to get airborne, twice. Its good honest fun that keeps both adults and kids wholly entertained- so much so that it is actually a popular place to get married, brides often enjoying a few runs in their wedding gear.
That's pretty much it for today- we've decided to go out for tea to celebrate the fact that we are both still alive- surely between rolling down a hill in a wet ball, to rolling down a hill on a bit of plastic- with jumps and falls between, fate had his chance to be rid of us. I recon a local beer and some fush and chups will end the day nicely.