Day 160 and we woke early and it was friggin freezing, and we all had to put socks and trousers on. After a round of hot drinks (Luke is becoming quite the tea drinker, and from knowing him for 5 years and the start of Uni, I never thought I'd see the day he would offer to make a round of drinks). We drove 45 mins to Rotorua and as soon as we got there we could smell rotten Egg. This is because the area is full of hot springs and Geysers which smell like bag egg mayo sarnies. We booked a Mauri tour for the evening and then headed to the Agrodome where there were lots of activities to do. We were pretty much the first people there and we all signed up to try out Schweebing. This is when you ride a bike upside downish round a track and race a friend. The girls went first and Laura did really well getting 1min 12 secs which was one of the best times the centre had for any English female. Helen did good to, though she openely admitted she didnt expect to beat Laura who bikes everyday back home. I went next against Burns and it was so nakering. I managed to get round in 1 min and 1 second, which was the 37th best time of the 800 blokes from the UK who have been timed. Afterwards my legs felt like Jelly. Luke went last and Coops managed to get a free go against him. Laura improved her time by 5 seconds and was the 8th quickest girl from the UK. Luke got 1min and 5 secs, so I was the quickest which was good! After recovering from the Schweeb we all got ready to go on the Swoop which was a 40 metre drop in a sleeping bag which swept along the ground in a giant arc. Helen and me went first and I pulled the cord to let us go and Helen shrieked so loud I nearly went deaf! Rich and Luke went next and seeemed to enjoy it. We tried to get Laura to have a go but she wasnt to keen on the height! Me and Burns got a discount and did another go. After that we managed to nab a free hotdog from the Kiwi Experience BBQ. We then drove back to Rotorua and split up to do our own things.
We did a Laundry run as we needed to clean the sheets from the camper. The woman in the Laundry was so rude it was untrue. Firstly she told us how to fold our clothes and that we were getting in the way, and she kept saying 'What you doing?? Use your Head!'. In the evening we headed out to do a Mauri tour in a local village. Our guide was a jolly chap called Rakki and he impressed us on the the bus journey by reciting everyones name (40 odd people and he only met them 20 mins earlier). The tour started with a 'show' of how the Mauri great guests to their tribe. After walking through their 'village' (it had lights and electronics everywhere so didnt really seem authentic) we sat in a massive hall and watched what can only be described as Pantomime. There were 2 bad guys walking around in costume trying to scare everyone. The average age of this tour was about 60. Apart from us and a few other young people, everyone was old. We expected a real tour and a traditional dinner etc, but instead we got a hot buffet with Roast dinner and all the trimmings. It felt like we were at an OAP version of Butlins, and even the Mauri tour guides were going from table to table singing with their acoustic guitars. We caught eyes with some other backpackers and their faces were like ours, utter disbelief at this crazy show. We didnt expect anything like it at all, but it was pretty funny. On the bus Rakki wanted people from different countries to go up and sing a song from their country. We really didnt want to do anything English. Helen was adamant she wasnt moving. Luckily for us when England was called some other old people went up and sang some English song we didnt know. Bit of a crazy night which ended up with me Luke and Burns almost crying with laughter at all the old people singing on the bus.
Day 161 and we woke up in new beds (me and Helen had the top den and Coops had to share with Luke which meant Burns got the Single). We drove to Hells gate at 8am and were once again the first people there. It proper stank of Egg Mayo and I thought I might be sick at one point. We went in and walked around the park (no one else was there which was good). There were several hot pools of mud and steamy pits and after 30 mins we were finished and headed to Rainbow mountain. We did a 15 min walk and then drove back to Rotorua. We did a food shop and bought lots of supplies. We spent the afternoon in Maccas using the internet and toilets. We have become experts at finding and using public toilets, so when Maccas comes along its all to easy. Liverpool beat Real Madrid 4-0 which made my day! In the camper I had a nap while the others finished in the shops. When I woke up the car was moving while I was in bed. I looked out the window and we were in Hamilton and heading for a small surf town of Raglan. We werent allowed to camp anaywhere so had to find a layby on the road. The girls had to empty the toilet (as they are the only ones using it). We bought some beers, The girls bought VB! and some cider to make snakebite which took us lads by surprise. We parked up in a really windy spot and had a few bevs. Dinner was Sweet and Sour pork and played a new card game Billionaire. We also did a quiz! geeks I know. I wrote 25 Questions and the girls took on the boys. It was 18-18 which was nice and fair. The camper had let us down again as the elec battery was dead (it charges as we drive normally). We planned to phone Apollo and have a word in the morning.
Day 162 and we had a lay in till 9. Before that though, a man knocked on the door at 7am and told us we shouldnt be camping and he would let us off this one time but not again. In Raglan town we used the lavs and then Burns checked the footy scores. Luke called Apollo about the battery and we were told we had to plug in at a campsite once every 48 hours. Nice of Apollo not to mention this to us when we paid for the camper! lol. We drove to a gorge, but halfway there when the road turned into a dirt track we headed back as the camper wouldnt have made it. We spent a few hours watching the awesome surf and the massive waves. Raglan is home to the longest left rip in the southern hemisphere so is a bit of a Meccah to the surfers. In the afternoon we drove to Bridal Veil Falls which is a 55 metre waterfall which was pretty epic to look at. If we do Bungys in Queenstown we are going to be jumping over twice that (134!). Back in Raglan we bought dinner and decided to stay in a campsite after the phone call to Apollo. The campsite cost us $12 each and we all used the showers and laundry while having some beers and chilling in the van as it was raining. The theme in NZ seems to be 1 day of great sunshine and 1 day of wind and rain. Luke and Helen had a go on a trampelene and after Baked Potato and beans we hit the hay about 11.
Day 163 and it was Friday the 13th for the 2nd time in 2 months. We had a lie as it had rained all night and hadnt stopped. We had showers, dumped our waste (the campervans waste that is) and drove an hour east to Hamilton. We parked in a Foodtown car park and went to the shopping centre. Burns who had been complaining about his ripped shorts for what seems like forever bought a new pair, and we all went on the net afterwards. For lunch Burns and I had a 'Select A Sub' a cheap rip off of Subway, but just as tasty and half the price. Luke bought yet more shorts (he might be out of control, he must have over 10 new pairs since we've been away). We drove south to Waitomo which was home to the famous gloworm caves. Helen Luke and Laura booked into a Rap Raft and Rock tour which involved abseiling and rock climbing whereas me and Burns did just blackwater rafting and got a $45 discount which was good. We then stopped in at a Rabbit Shearing shed (yes you read that right). There were German Angorea Rabbits which grow massive amounts of fur which the locals sheer off and sell as part of clothing. The woman in the store was obviously a bit lonely and wouldnt stop talking to Laura about teaching. We found a gravel pit layby just outside Waitomo town and parked up for the night. We dossed for a few hours with Luke and Laura doing arrowords and getting them wrong much to Burns annoyance! For dinner we had Steak and Noodle stir fry which was well good, but everyone was so tired we went to bed early as we had an early start for the Caves in the morning.