The land of undetectable farts.

Trip Start Jun 25, 2011
Trip End Dec 24, 2011

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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Saturday, November 19, 2011


We leave Auckland mid-morning for Rotorua. Before we leave, Damien and Natalie kit us out completely with tent gear, even giving us cutlery from their draw, plates, sleeping mats, sleeping bags and a sat nav for the car. which makes the journey to Rotorua very easy.

The drive is beautiful, over hills and past lakes with smooth roads and not much traffic to contend with. Stopping to get supplies in Rotorua we are shocked by how quiet it is for a Saturday afternoon! And equally shocked by the strong smell of eggs, which Rotorua is famous for, created by sulphur.

Our destination is the house of Emma and Carl and baby Jack and today they are having a barbecue for Jack's first birthday. (For those who don't know, they are family friends. Claire's brother stayed with them for a year a few years ago around the time of their wedding. James is now married and has a baby with Emma's bridesmaid!)
Their house is in a pretty quiet suburb and we are the first to arrive for the barbecue apart from Emma's brother who is also visiting from England. Within a couple of hours the place is full (mostly of kids!) and Jack's presents pile up. Jo gorges on more meat than she's eaten in a long time, and the Kiwi blokes take the piss out of Claire for being a vegetarian. lots of beer, wine and cake later and it's bed time.

Note: Carl and Emma have two lovely dogs which Claire considers dumping Jo for and who she tries to keep next her throughout here time at their place. Lizzy, named after the wonderful Liz Nolan herself, is a black with white details Labrador/collie cross who is so affectionate but also very well disciplined (like Mrs Nolan herself?), and Maccabee is something HUGE and black and a big softie. The fact that Emma and Carl's pets are the colours of the All Blacks rugby team does not go un-noted.
They also have 2 cats- Tex is also black, continuing the theme, and is a bit touchy (possibly because she is v ery fat) and her son, Hory (which is short for George here...!?) who is a very handsome grey with a little squashed face. they basically have James's Nolan's family living with them in animal form.


Jo is feeling less than tip top after consuming so much meat in so little time so it takes a little while for us to get ourselves together.
Emma takes us on a little tour of Rotorua once we surface, showing us the main lake and the area around it that is owned by a single moari family who now number 30 plus people. Their houses here are heated by the thermal pools that run in the ground underneath them so they never have to pay a heating bill. Ever. Emma also tells us how to say 'Mauri' properly. She explains it as saying 'mouldy' but dropping the 'd' and rolling the 'l'.

In the evening Emma explains that she is a fan of the Twighlight books and films and that tomorrow we are going to be forced to go to the cinema and watch the new one. In preparation, we are also forced to watch the first two this afternoon. Obviously we complain and try to escape, but she catches us and ties us down so we have no choice but to comply. We definitely do not enjoy it.

We finish the day by skyping James and Liz and new baby George and then watching a film called 'hot tub time machine'. (Carl's choice.)


This morning we're up at a slightly more reasonable time (the jet lag excuse is now running out) and Carl takes us on a mini tour of the nearby Blue and Green lakes, so that we know where to walk and not to walk if we want to return later. we joke with Carl as other groups of tourists pass us that he is our very own genuine Moari tour guide. He doesn't laugh much.

When we're on our own again we head into town to meet Emma at cafe Zippy's for lunch, before some cautious souvenir buying as the pennies don't go as far as in Asia unsurprisingly.

We decide that we need to do some exercise so we go for a walk in the Redwood forest near to Emma and Carl's place and from here we can see the sulphur geyser steaming in the distance. It's pretty amazing.

For dinner Carl serves up a delicious man-sized chilli which provides just enough energy for us to go to the cinema with Emma and all her burly mates to see the fourth Twilight film. We get our tickets and popcorn from a man with the most immense mullet we have seen for quite some time. We are impressed.
Once again we'd like to clarify that we DO NOT enjoy the film AT ALL but Emma watches us throughout to make sure we haven't missed anything; she's a mean task master that Emma.
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