Driving south

Trip Start May 18, 2003
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Monday, October 24, 2005

My New Zealand tour has well and truly begun. Ross, Siobhan, Chris and I loaded up TROGDOR on Friday evening and we set off for a late arrival in Rotorua. We've spent a lovely weekend here with grand weather, good food and great company. We planned a nostalgic film weekend where each of us selected a movie from our childhood. Superman and The Karate Kid seemed to survive the test of time best of all.

Yesterday was spent on the Luge ride that this city is now infamous for. Imagine a tarmac track that winds it's way down the side of a huge hill, with small low profile carts that freewheel down at an alarming rate. There have been several injuries and at least one death on this ride so it's not as fast (or dangerous) as it used to be. To get to the top of the hill costs $20 via cable car, and then you can pay for each luge ride or get a multi-ride package. We got a $37 ticket, that included the cable car fare and 5 luge rides. There are three tracks to choose from: Scenic, Intermediate and Advanced. The staff insist that everyone rides the Scenic route first (which is not very scenic now that all the trees have grown to obscure the views) to get used to the luge. My favourite route was the Intermediate, as it was possible to go faster on that route than the Advanced (which has been scaled back for safety). Chris, Siobhan and myself all managed to wipe out and crash once, but fortunately without injuries.

Later on we met up with Stu and Gill and took them to visit Siobhan's friends who had a temporary pet lamb. He's an orphan so needs regular feeding. After sinking a bottle of warm milk in seconds flat it was time to take 'Meadow' for a walk. It's not every day that you see someone walking down the road with a lamb on a leash but it didn't seem to attract any strange comments or finger pointing from passers by. Only in New Zealand I guess.

Next stop: Taupo/Turangi - I'm planning to complete the Tongariro Crossing either tomorrow or Wednesday.
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