Nat and Beck Go Large!
There's a population of 4 million people in New Zealand...and 40 million sheep! Having driven for 3 hours from Auckland to Rotorua yesterday, we can certainly vouch for that fact! We picked up our car from the rental place yesterday...he's a lovely little gold Daihatsu, we've named him Georgie Maori Flappybottom. Got on the road to Rotorua about 1pm, quickly discovered that New Zealand radio is lacking to say the least, so made a stop-off along the way to purchase some quality CD's...Black Eyed Peas, Eurythmics, Bee Gees, classic driving rock anthems and what Becky thought was Abba's greatest hits...but turned out to be a rip-off CD by some random orchestra. We'll be using that one as a frisbee. The drive to Rotorua certainly improved after our purchases...but lucky it's only us two in the car, we are not professional singers! We arrived in Rotorua and were quickly overwhelmed by the smell...the town sits on the volcanic region of New Zealand and there are a lot of natural hot springs around, hence the ever-present odour of sulphur. We checked into our hostel and then went out for dinner,then rounded off the evening trying out the hot pools in the hostel, which left us with a lovely aroma of rubber. Today, we got up early, packed up Georgie and headed to Skyline, home to the world's 1st ever Luge! We headed up the hill in the gondola, and decided to wake ourselves up with the Sky Swing, which goes 150km per hour in just 2 seconds! Becky was a bag of nerves, especially as we were being winched higher and higher off the ground. Next thing, we were hurtling through the air at 150km, all with a lovely view of the town below! There was a video, but the language was choice to say the least, so could not purchased for those at home to view...don't want to shatter our good girl image. Next up was the Luge...we had 5 goes on this, basically whizzing down a track down the mountain in a plastic tray on wheels...was great fun! We had one run down the intermediate track, then braved the advanced track for the other 4 times...no injuries and Becky only came off the track once, but carried on like a true Luge competitor. After lunch, we drove to the Rotorua Museum, which was set in the old Rotorua Bathhouse, where the injured Maori used to go to be treated for their war wounds. We watched a video about the volcanic eruption that happened in the 19th century, which caused the giant crater that Rotorua and the lake now sit in...was like a Geography and History lesson rolled into one! We then drove out of town to Hell's Gate, which is hard to describe, but there's geysers, hot mud pools, mud volcanoes, hot waterfalls and all generally stinks! Let's just say that we know how Sarah felt in Labyrinth when she got to the Bog of Eternal Stench! We also had a go at carving Maori patterns into wood...we have kept our pitiful efforts as souvenirs!! After a very cultural day, it was back on the road to Taupo! Love Nat and Beck xxxxxxxx