Oct 01, 2012
Oct 31, 2012
. I do have to mention that they had a Jelly Belly store at the top where people had made huge replicas of the Mona Lisa and Picasso's Starry Night out of jelly beans that they had on display. It was pretty impressive. We didn't buy any jelly beans, we were there for excitement... The first activity we did was the luge. For this you sit in a little cart with a handlebar that you use for steering and breaking. Then it is all gravity power as you roll down a course down the side of the mountain. For our first time we went down the scenic course for beginners. We hardly touched the breaks and passed a lot of people so we moved up to the intermediate course our next time down. This course was more fun as you went faster and it had more turn. It was really neat as once you got to the bottom, you got on a chairlift to bring you back up to the top like skiing. We then moved on to the advanced course and this was by far the best of the courses. I don't know how fast you went but we were flying down the hill catching air at some spots and most of the corners were banked so you could carry your speed through without skidding too much. We did the advance course two more time and we were getting pretty good by the end. After the luge we went to the sky swing. For this you get harnessed into an open capsule and they winch you up about 100' into the air. Once at the top, you pulled the cord (which Gina did for us) that releases you. You drop and accelerate to 150km/h as you swing over the side of the mountain. You then swing back and forth until you eventually are going slow enough that the attendant can stop you. It was pretty exciting but if we could do it again we would have spent the money on more luge rides. After the swing we headed down the gondola and went to the Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest. The park has over 100km of maintained mountain bike trails and I was looking forward to doing some biking on them. Unfortunately we got there too late in the day and they were closing up the shop. We went for a walk (well more like a 7k hike) down some of the trails designated for hikers. It was a very beautiful place with towering redwoods and very little undergrowth underneath at they blocked a lot of the light. Ace would have had a blast here. Unfortunately there were some spots that had been logged which weren't as nice. The hike took us to a few look out points where you could see the city and the thermal villages. The geyser was going off again while we were at one of the lookouts. We made our way back to the car shortly before dark.
Happy Birthday Mrs. Coach!!
We were up early with an action packed day ahead of us. The rain finally stopped and the skies were starting to clear up. The first stop was at Whakarewarewa, a Maori village that still uses geothermal energy as part of their everyday lives for cooking and bathing. We did a tour of the village with one of the residents and got to see how they lived. We also got to see the Pohutu geyser erupt and hike around some of the lakes in the area. There was also a Maori concert while we were there Gina wanted to go so we did but it wasn't really wasn't my thing. To me all those cultural shows that are put on for tourists are exactly that, shows for tourists and lose their appeal because of it. After the village we stopped for lunch at a Chinese noodle house for some soup before heading off to the Skyline Skyrides for a little excitement. The facility is located halfway up the side of a mountain so you start by taking a gondola up. From the gondola you get a good view of the city. At the top they have your typical cafes and gift shops but they also have a bunch of activities you can do