I have also added Waitomo and Coromandel today. Most men enjoy farting; I love it. I think it is healthy to fart as it keeps the insides clean. My Grandfather always stated that it was 'better to have an empty flat than a bad tenant'. Women, and particularly Jodie, have a different view. This leads most ladies to hold in or 'bake' farts for many months, so when the inevitable dose happen it is enough to strip paint of walls, to kill dogs and to make God fearing people think that the Devil is present. Therefore, when a horrible stench entered our minivan as we approached Rotorua (and had nothing to do with me) I made the obvious assumption and prepared to throw myself out of the moving van when the smell got too much to live with. It was then I remembered that Rotorua is a volcanic town and permanently smells of sulphur and other volcanic gases.
Most of the places where you can visit geysers, thermal springs and other volcano related phenomenon are in the middle of nowhere, with at most a tourist centre and a café nearby, so it is odd to find so much activity in a town. There are hot springs and mud pools in the parks, next to the lake and in the centre of residential areas, and a huge geyser field in what can best be described as a suburb.
Whilst there we visited the geysers, ran in the park and by the lake, saw a Maori show (best summed up by the phrase fat birds, tattoos and tongues) and went to the Cinema (we watched Valkyere, which was remarkably full of suspense despite the fact that the ending was known). On Saturday night we had a bit of FT luck. It started with Jodie claiming that Billy Connelly had just passed us. I of-course dismissed this. When recovering from a couple of hours in the Polynesian Spa (a wonderful series of hot pools between 36 and 42 degrees C), Jodie saw an article in a paper about Billy's tour of NZ, so when we got back to our campsite we asked about it. The good news was that he was performing in town that night, but the bad news was that we had to go to the venue to see if tickets were available. At 7.50pm, after battling through traffic and getting to the events centre, Jodie emerged from the ticket office with two tickets. They were in separate areas, but had been left at the door by others, so were free. All we had to do was get the van back to the campsite (about 1.5 miles away, as we thought may have locked gates by the time we finished) and get to our seats before it started (about 8). I left Jodie at the door, used the force to take me through the back streets, dumped the van, took a gulp of the wine I had left at our picnic table earlier, then jogged back. I must have looked a sight, man-breasts bouncing under polo shirt, walking shorts and flip-flops, jogging majestically up the road, intimidating the hoodie skateboard gang more than they could intimidate me. I made it back in time, but a little sweaty and got to shake the hand of the nice people who had given up the ticket. They were a family from Yorkshire who had emigrated to NZ 2 years ago, were huge Billy fans and had hoped that their son would have found a friend to bring with him. I soon saw why he had not. Mum, Dad and son were obsessive fans and the kind who laughed hysterically at every joke, repeated punch lines and wolf whistled a lot. The effect was (Billy)"………………..but she was too fat!". (Family): "Ha ha ha (manic laughter) She was too fat!!!" More manic laughter. Wolf whistle. Manic laughter. Luckily Billy was funny enough to help me zone this out after a while.
We finished our trip in Rotorua with me having a go at Zorbing (see video). It is a very simple concept - you jump into the wet centre of a big see-through plastic ball at the top of a hill and then roll back down, being tossed around like a pair of pants in a washing machine. Slightly odd but huge fun and I laughed all the way down.