A wet weekend in Rotorua

Trip Start Aug 15, 2008
Trip End ??? ??, 2009

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Friday, October 3, 2008

After a few weeks holed up in Auckland city centre we decided to hire a car for the weekend and head south to Rotorua - a town situated about 150 miles south of Auckland.

Though Rotorua is quite small in population it always manages to feel busy with people. The reason for this is popularity with tourists and its geographic location on the North Island - probably the most interesting town that is centrally located between Wellington (NZ's capital) and Auckland.

It has also claimed notoriety amongst mainly people due to it being one of the most thermally active areas in the world. Engulfed in a think stench of rotten eggs due to the continuous outpour of sulphuric acid it does not deter the curious tourist. With a myriad of bubbling mud pools and sulphuric multi coloured lakes it truly is an amazing place and hence my delight in being able to show Naomi.

We arrived in a very wet and windy Rotorua just after midday. After dropping our bags off at our lodging and booking a couple of activities for the forthcoming day we headed back out into the wilds, destination the 'Agrodome'.

The Agrodome is a slightly surreal activity centre situated next to a working farmyard, where you can indulge in a whole manner of feats designed to induce an unexpected bowel movement. The two activities that we decided to indulge upon were Swooping and Zorbing - two words I don't think Samuel Johnson could have dreamt up when writing his illustrious 'Dictionary'. Now rather have me describe both of the aforementioned feats, which would be far too laborious and time consuming, I have added the following links (copy and paste into the toolbar), which I believe are far more illustrative. I would have included our photos and videos if only we had some to upload; unfortunately having to partake in both activities does stop you from being the photographer.



Later on in the afternoon we rode a cable car up one of the mountain ranges that overlook Lake Rotorua and jumped on board a couple of luges and raced down the man made course which is cut into the side of the rock. Naomi being highly competitive in all that she does obviously beat me to the bottom both times, however I should add at this point, that I was the one taking the photos.

In the evening we booked a cultural Maori experience at the local Mitai village, where we ate traditional hungi food (food that is baked under the ground) and watched a cultural performance.
It is customary in Maori tribe tradition (like many tribal villages the world over) to make a peace offering to the chief before being granted access to the village. As such we had to nominate a person from our group who would play the part of this chief. Usually in these situations the crowd goes quiet in fear of being picked, however this time a man looking incredibly like Jimmy Tarbuck stuck his hand up. As you will see from our videos the resemblance is quite uncanny - yet this Liverpudlian did get stage fright a couple of times and didn't work the audience too well.
Though I had attended the same performance some years prior, the performance had changed and the food was far more enjoyable.

On our final day in Rotorua the rain continued to pour, so we decided that rafting would be the best activity. The next two hours was spent hurtling down some grade 4-5 rapids with the highlight being taking on the biggest commercial waterfall in the southern hemisphere. Out of the two rafts that tackled this monster, it was our raft that managed not to lose any members.
The link below gives you an idea as to its size.

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