Rotorua - land of rather smelly Middle Earth
Trip Start Nov 14, 2008
18Trip End Mar 10, 2009
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fantastic! It has 171k on the clock but drives really well & is
automatic as well which is a real bonus.
Only took around 3 hours to get down here to Rotorua & would
have been quicker if there hadn't been roadworks. We came right down
the 1 and then took the 5 but apparently cutting across on the 27 would
have been quicker. The scenery is totally British - we passed through
what could have been Cheshire & then moved right into Tyndrum!
Arrived at around 4pm and I cant believe how hot it still is - think
I'm going to run out of sunscreen soon! I had expected the town to
smell more of sulphur but it actually isnt that bad until you get to
the Polynesian Spa area.
looked flippen freezing although I'm sure Sneds would have been right
in there having to contend with Black Swans & boat planes rather
than the mad Jet Skiers & Canoeists of home! Standing on the edge
of Lake Rotorua we could have been at the lower edge of Loch Lomond or
Loch Leven the scenery is so similar! Walking back towards town there
is a hill in the background which has been reminding me of something -
I originally thought it was Tunnel Mountain in Banff but then
realisation dawned that it was in fact Benarty hill/Bishop!!!
Rotorua was like a ghost town walking back with all the shops closed
and no-one on the streets - we didn't know whether someone had
signalled impending doom to the town & we somehow didn't know!
Thankfully that wasn't the case (otherwise I don't think I'd be writing
this!) and we had some dinner in the Pig & Whistle a rather
pleasant pub; actually talking pleasant that reminds of the bar called
the Pheasant Plucker on another street - difficult enough to say sober let alone with a few beers! Anyway dinner - mine was
great Jacks was "disgusting" to quote her response to the waitress;
although with sweet potato chips I would tend to agree with her!
It was weird walking back through the park with random steaming thermal areas in between the bushes!
Back to the Hostel for a couple of very nice pints of Mac Gold and a
very long game of pool that had strictly speaking finished when Jack
potted the black mid game!
Today we are off the Polynesian Spa which is a series of smelly
pools which are apparently good for you. Day is yet again beautiful.
Polynesian Spa - very nice experience, there are many pools all with different properties & all of them look out over the lake. A very nice way to spend $25!
That afternoon we took a drive along the Thermal Highway - head out to Taupo on the 5 & then turn off the road on the left approx 10km after leaving Rotorua. Really nice 6Km drive around normal Scottish looking countryside that has steam coming out of the mountainsides & bushes! The very nice lady in the visotor center let us take a way a couple of sandwiches seeing as the place was shutting. Very amused at the range of possum skin things you can buy; this country hates the creatures so there is a roaring trade in anything that adds to their demise!
Wai-o-ma or something - up early for the drive down to see Lady Knox Geyser do her thing. At 10.15am every morning a park official pours some biodegradable soup powder into the geyser & within 5 minutes 20meters of hot water is sprouting up through the air! Apparently this geyser would naturally go off once every 24-50 hours but they cant predict exactly when hence the show with the soap!
That afternoon we went to see the Kiwi experience which is found right beside the cable car entrance. Kiwis are in trouble in New Zealand thanks to rats & stoats which kill off the young. a young Kiwi chick has a 5% chance of survival in the wild. The eggs are collected from the burrows and then the center looks after them & the subsequent Kiwi chicks until they are around 6 months old; the adult birds are then taken back to where they were found. Survival rate this way is 60%. In the center we got to go into a dark room that had 3 Kiwis in it. All that was separating us from them was a 2 foot wall so for 2 of the birds we could literally have reached out & touched them if we wanted to! They are weird looking birds with very long beaks that they stick in the ground to catch insects.
On the last night we suddenly had an extra person in our room - nice young lassie but my God what a weird sleeper! I was woken up by the extreme clashing of teeth & whimpering/moaning noises. This pretty much continued pretty much every couple of hours throughout the night.
We discovered a great place called the Fat Dog which sells loads of nice food from cakes/snacks to full blown meals. The quiche was so good I had the same one 3 times! I even ate the salad that came with it as it had no nasty tomotoes or cucumbers in it - Europeans please take note! Jackie had a fabulous hot chocolate that was a meal in itself!
Where I stayed