Weather seems to have taken a turn for the worse and it was raining heavily as we drove into Rotorua - the geothermal capital of NZ so here we now are amongst a bunch of geyers. It's a bit niffy with all that sulphurous water running through the town/city although it does give them free hot water for central heating and every hotel/motel has its own thermal spa.
One of main reasons for stopping here is to visit the Agrodome which we first saw in Keith & Karen's slides in Glenelg nearly 14 years ago. The sight of sheep being paraded around like fashion models was too much to miss so we headed there on a wet and extremely miserable morning. The Agrodome was exactly what was needed and was great fun. It was exactly like Keith's photos and we were treated to 19 different breeds of sheep being led to their podiums (we gave the Scottish breeds, Border Leicesters and Cheviots, a loud cheer), sheep shearing, cow milking, sheepdog demonstrations (one of which pooped right in front of us - not part of the show we thinks!!), and loads of photo opportunities. Keith & Karen - the sheep are asking after 'ewe' both. Have a look at the Rotorua photo album.
With the weather still being dreich, we went in search of kiwis (the birds not the folk). Rainbow Springs has a kiwi conservation and breeding project and seemed to be our best chance of seeing one of these elusive birds. We took their Kiwi Encounter tour with Dion (the campest and funniest guide we'd had for a wee while) to look at the breeding programme and at last to see 3 kiwis. Only one was active at that time of day but it was good to see the little bird noisily running about seeking out food - they are strange but very appealing birds. The Agrodome and Rainbow Springs were exactly what was needed - go and see them if you're in the area. We had planned to spend time here trying to do research into finding a flat/house in Auckland to see out our stay in NZ. We contacted numerous agencies, landlords which was quite frustrating and the general response was - not interested in short term lets. Many also did not seem to read our requirements properly which made it even more annoying. But our hard work was rewarded by a good curry that evening and even more so the following day when we got some responses that looked promising. More on that when we have a deal.
Another big attraction here in Rotorua is the Polynesian Spa and that was where we headed for a much needed soak in the health inducing waters, and for E, a relaxing, smooth-flowing massage enhanced with fragrant coconut oil under streaming jets of warm water. Sounds good and it was! We should also add that we'd found The Regent Motel (www.regentmotelrotorua.co.nz), right in the centre of town.It had free internet, its own spa and mineral baths, was really comfortable and the managers were really friendly and helpful.Although it's plain and basic it's really value and worth checking out.
E & M xxx