The hostel that we are staying is called Kiwi Paka YHA, when we arrived there was a mix up with our room. The only way that we could all be in the same room was if we were in a 5 bed mixed dorm-we opted for this, although we weren't so enthusiastic we decided it was all part of the backpacking experience!! As it turns out there was no one else in our room for our first night here. We arrived in the afternoon and explored Rotorua and watched a bit of TV, before heading to the bar at the hostel. Here we were pounced on by a drunk kiwi who proceeded to try and get us drink with some expensive foul concoction. After we declined such a tempting offer and settled for a nice glass of chilled wine (Sam and Lau) she spent the whole night cackling-what an excellent atmosphere!! Whilst sitting enjoying ourselves Sam and Fi did a doubletake when they saw a Japanese man walk past in his Speedos, at first glance it looked like he wasn't even wearing speedos-NICE!! Although the place is very clean and the people working here are nice, the rest of the people staying here are all pretty weird/old, so it's not been the best atmosphere or at least not what we were anticipating, but it has still been fun.
On Wednesday we headed out to Whakarewarewera Geothermal and Maori Park, after getting slightly lost we turned around heading back towards where we started, only to see that Te Puia (which we had seen half an hour earlier) was in fact the place we wanted. It had just helpfully changed it's name, thankfully we saw the tiny mouse like writing of Whakarewarewera and so knew we were in the right place. Whilst there we were welcomed into the Maori Meeting House where we watched a number of there traditional songs and dances, including the Haka. Also the Maori Chief was FIT!!! A whole lot of man! We then wandered around the Thermal areas, where we saw Mudpools and Pohutu Geyser, which were very impressive. The only downside is that the whole of Rotorua smells of rotten eggs-thanks to the Sulphur-and it gets worse the closer you are to the thermal sites. We went shopping in Rotorua in the afternoon before going to make our lovely dinner of Butter Chicken (YUM) and rice before chilling out in the evening. We returned to our room only to discover that we had been joined by two old men. One was about 80 and the other 40ish, who were both already asleep, needless to say getting in to bed was amusing considering Lau and Sam had to get up onto the top bunks in the dark!!!!
We were woken at half 6 by the little old man getting up and proceeding to take 50 pills-all of which needed to be popped out of the foil packet. He then started rattling a plastic bag for about 2 hours before leaving at around half 7. Having nearly dropped off again our other guest then got up and according to Sam stunk the room out!!! What a nice start to the day!
We headed north towards the Bay of Plenty where we stopped off at Te Puke where there is a Kiwi fruit farm. We had a guided tour where we sat on little Kiwi carts-very cool!! Our guide couldn't drive, was very dramatic and over-emphasised everything and had certain hand gestures. Although we attempted not to laugh in his face, it was very hard not too. After Fi having her head chopped off 3 times by a Kiwi bush thanks to his skilled driving we sampled all sorts of kiwi flavoured delights. The kiwi juice was delicious but the wine was not so great!! We also fell in love with the kiwi grape things. We then headed to Pakamoa Beach which is on the bay of plenty. Here we paddled in the sea and watched the lifeguards training a group of schoolkids. The beach was gorgeous and stretched as far as we could see on both sides.
Today we decided to treat ourselves and went to Hells Gate Spa, where we had a mud bath and spa. The Mud bath was amazing, we were actually sitting in mud that spews out of the ground. It was about 30/40 degrees and so relaxing. Our skin now feels so smooth. After being in there for 20 minutes-the max that you are allowed- we had to have a freezing cold shower to remove all the mud. We then hopped into a sulphur spa pool which was just as warm and even more relaxing, our pool had a waterfall!! The view from the two pools was amazing, we could see the geyser that produced the water we were bathing in, as well as the mountains and more mud pools. Although we were splashing out by spending 70 NZD, it only cost us 23 pounds-which we think was definately worth it!!
This afternoon were heading to the park in Rotorua to continue our relaxing day, tomorrow we head for Lake Taupo, so we'll update again from there. Thanks again for all your messages and we miss you all!!
Love and hugs. xxxxxxxx