|We drove up from Taupo to Rotorua via Orakei Korako Thermal Area. It was amazing! We caught a boat across a lake and then walked up and around a silica sinter, which is a bit like a frozen river or lava flow. There were loads of natural hot springs, pools of bubbling mud and geysers. It was a bizarre place, and one that can't really be described.
Rotorua is the tourist centre of the area but unfortunately the sulphur in the ground makes it smell of rotten eggs! You get used to it though and when we arrived we decided to get even closer to these wierd and wonderful minerals by having a trip to the spa where we soaked in hot thermal pools. It felt very healthy and is even meant to cure arthritus and other pains.
Our one full day in Rotorua was a bit manic. We drove out to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland in the morning and saw the Lady Knox Geyser erupt. It was another thermal area, this time with lots of pools of various coloured liquid: yellow for sulphur, purple for something else etc! It was another fascinating place and the mud pools there were the best we saw. It was like being on another planet.
In the afternoon we went to the Agrodome Adventure Park to do the adventure activities that you cannot miss out on a trip in this country. We drew the line at bungee jumping though! We did Zorbing first, where we sat in a huge plastic ball with a couple of buckets of hot water and rolled down a hill! It was so much fun. After that we did the Swoop, basically a big swing, see the photos for Doug's reaction to this madness!
In the evening we went to the Tamaki Maori Village where we watched a cultural performance which was fantastic. They did the Haka and lots of other dances. The whole place was set up like an authentic Maori village and we even received the traditional welcome ceremony on arrival. They also cooked for us in their hangi (oven in the ground), the food was really good. It was great to experience something of their culture since it has been repressed for so long, and it was fantastic to see them keeping up their traditional values.