Arrived into Lake Taupo, which is the largest lake in New Zealand, this was created by the biggest volcanic eruption in the past 5000 years! It's pretty big eh.
The Hostel was amazing, had its own bar and spa pool which we took advantage of in a big way! Met some nice dudes and dudettes from America, Canada, Bavaria and the UK and had one of the largest and most complicated games of Shithead I have ever had the pleasure to be involved in!
So with sore heads we awoke in the morning and had the cobwebs literally blown away by going on the Huka Falls Jet Boat - Warning Thrills Ahead - Which was a great trip. The driver Steve Ming, affectionately known as Minger, was brilliant- swerving spine-chillingly close to tree stumps and rocks at 80km an hour, and got really close to the falls as you can see from the below! Enough water passes over these falls to fill 2 olympic swimming pools in 5 seconds or 4 olympic swimming pools in 10 seconds!!!!!!!!!!! (Cath here- I thought I was going to cry for the first cpl of mins, but then totally loved it- must be getting braver!)
Anyways we decided to walk back to town by the river which was just so beautiful and peaceful. The colours of the rivers here are breathtaking, like nothing I've ever seen before. This one the Wakatipu (the longest in NZ) is a deeper blue than those in the south island (which are like an icy crystal blue) but so so clear... We had heard about some natural hot springs on the way back to town, which we found and were just about halfway in when a gaggle of french high school students turned up on canoes, which rather ruined the ambience, was very funny though...
Still we managed to find a rather more secluded spot further along where we swam in the river and generally took in the wonderfulness of it all! Then it was back to the aforementioned spa pool for some more relaxing- we could get used to this!!
(What was also amazing but a bit creepy was the constant and really loud buzzing of the ciccadas or plague of locusts you could call them- the discarded shells left on all the trees made us feel a bit itchy but fortunately the newly emerged bugs seemed to be swarming too high up for us to see them!)
The next day it's time for our bus to Rotorua, we get in and do the usual explore. Rotorua is a geo-thermal area and is filled with sulpher pools and and mineral rich waters and what we happen upon but the Polynesian Spa!! This place was originally found in the 1860's when an old priest discovered that bathing in these Radium rich waters helped with all the achesand pains (The mums take note, would do wonders for the arthritis!) Now its got seven outrageously bling spa pools all over looking the sulpher lake section of Lake Rotorua! Feel a bit P-Diddyish
Our last day in Rotorua yesterday and we made it a good one, got joint entry to Hell's Gate geothermal park (so named by George Bernard Shaw) and the Tamaki Maori village. Hell's Gate was the wierdest place ever, loads of bubbling pools of sulphide and various other molten rock type liquids, which were revealed after an earthquake drained the lakes in the area. Some of the pools are over 100 degrees, and they're all constantly bubbling and giving off the most hideous aroma you can imagine! One of the pools 'the cooking pot' can be used to cook an adult pig in two hours and the local Maori tribe still bathe in the 'Medicine pool' Bizarre!!
Then yesterday evening we headed off to Tamaki for an evening of traditional Maori food and entertainment. Having only been on the usual sort of Turkish/spanish evenings put on by package hotels in the past we weren't expecting too much- but we had a fab time. The village was properly set up as it would have been in the forest and the Maori people came out and did the whole traditional Haka/welcome/challenge thing which is actually quite intimidating close up. Also had a 'Hangi' which is a Maori feast cooked in underground ovens- it being a buffet we managed to eat rather a large amount of course!!
So it's off to Tauranga and the beach today, can't believe NZ is nearly over already!! Hope all is well back home, missing you all lots and lots, keep the comments and things coming (Ruth yours made us giggle a lot!) Big hugs, C&R xxx