We were all on a bit of adrenaline high from the caves and the journey to Rotorua was really scenic and surprisingly quick. The Wipers had booked into the same hotel and we bumped into them whilst they were waiting for dinner. They had had a good two days. They visited Hobbiton on the 28th and went to the thermal springs for Gail's Birthday on the 29th. It was a quick catch up as they were off to the caves themselves the following day.
The weather closed in on the next day but we still managed to visit the cultural/geyser centre. Nan did brilliantly, walking around all day. Even Dad had to have a rest in the nurse's office! So embarrassing he had an 'episode' during the Maori dance performance! We managed to see all the geysers and smelt the lovely eggy sulphur whilst walking around, luckily this masked Darren's natural musk! In the afternoon we did some more wandering around the streets of Rotorua town. I was honorary tour guide using the guide book to provide lots of interesting information. I don't think my tour group were too impressed with my guiding skills but we all enjoyed the town and the park. And an important memory to cherish was Darren demolishing a huge burger at the great lunch spot we found! Mum and I also had a look into the Maori village but soon got ushered out and told off as we were supposed to pay!
The next day was New Year's Eve and we were due back in Auckland to meet with everyone again for a meal in the evening. Before we left Rotorua we had one more thing to do…The Luge! The weather was nice again and Mum, Dad and I had enjoyed The Luge in Queenstown so much we thought we would try what the North Island had to offer. It did not disappoint. Nan was in charge of watching and photo duties and we all raced down the extra-long tracks that were longer and faster than Queenstown. It was so much fun and Darren and Mel loved it just as much as us. It turned competitive again with Darren morphing into a character from Mario Kart and whizzing down at 100mph letting nothing get in his way.. until Dad comes along and man handles him almost off the track! It was so funny, Mum, Mel and I were much more subdued then them but still showed no mercy to the other people on the track, in particular the Chinese family that went so slowly and so hard on the brakes they came to a halt, a tricky feat on a down-hill circuit! At one point Darren got fully airborne as he flew over a hump on the track. It was an entertaining and aggressive morning to bring in the New Year!