Rotorua (a.k.a Rotovegas) a bubbling geothermal theme park
Yes we are on the tacky tourism trail. We have been to Hobbiton - Matamata when it's not a film set - (bypassed the tour - Hills with holes in and a sheep shearing competition). Murray was to big to fit in the Hobbit cloak - see below especially for Julie.
We have been to the Kiwi experience. Eggs are taken from the wild as the survival rate is really low mainly because the babies eat in daylight and their only defence is to run. It takes them 4-7 days to pop out of the eggs as their beaks can only pierce the shell when they use the legs to push off (like swimming pool turns). Their eggs are enormous, so big they can't eat in the last week; equivalent to a human giving birth to a 35 pounder - makes you want to cross your legs. As NZ is all sea life, birds and reptiles, the birds all seem to fill lots of niches with the Kiwi a sort of mole. Baby kiwis are so wobbly and cute, but as they are nocturnal you can only photo stuffed ones.
This place is known to some as Rotovegas as it is very efficient at reducing your bank balance. We have been at play on a trampoline and kayaking at our motel in Ngongotaha as well as continuing our journey down the thermal highway to Wai O Tapu a thermal park!!! Yes boiling mud, the most fantatastic thermal lake of stunning steam, colours and bubbles - an old geyser (no, not Murray - haha) and now everything smells of sulphur.
Plus Caroline has a new (second hand) camera, her old camera has bitten the dust due to the extremes of heat in the tropics and moisture on the boat. Unfortunately, Caroline to her dismay now no longer has an entry level camera and has to learn about f stops and aperture size (they're the same thing Caz! - M) - deep joy - Murray is teaching her how to use her new camera- more deep joy. The camera shop were most disparaging about the quality of photographs from Caroline's camera (to her disgust), it was made really obvious that she couldn't possibly have taken decent pictures with the old camera (!). Anyway the above two pictures were taken with the new camera so you can judge for your selves.
We finished off our trip with the skyswing and some luging. The picture below is of the skyswing which is a bit hard to descibe but it is a sort of swing where you are winched up to the top of a crane and given a cord to release yourselves and you swing out over the hill top at a speed of up to about 150km/h. The ladies after us refused to pull the cord and were begging to be let down, but faced with the operator who kept telling then there was no other way down eventually pulled the cord but they were definately not happy. Caroline really liked it but thought it was a bit scary to start with. It's really a bungy jump in a seat - the freefall bit is great.
We are going to zorb but can't make our minds up as to which way - strapped in and dry or free with the ball full of water. We are going to have quite a few of these difficult choices as we have waterfalls and caves to abseil, skyscrapers to walk round on the outside and so on. NZ is great for sporting activities with that something extra.
Caroline is still missing her Frosties which are banned here - she is completely unable to understand how anyone (regardless of sugar levels) could possibly sell Skippy cornflakes instead, especially as we have not this many cake and pie shops outside of Wigan. On the plus side Caroline has been eating cake, cake and cake, Muffin break (now a firm favourite) offers 4 (yes 4 ) choices of gluten free muffin.
Playtime over, we've spent the last week fixing and painting. Rudder leak under way, small amount of welding being arranged - working exceptionally hard (cos we want to finish quickly and go play again!)