New Zealand

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22 travelers at this place:

  • Day40

    Day 40/72: Zorbing, Rafting, Pools

    December 6, 2018 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌧 14 °C

    We did a lot today, it's a good read but wanted to get it all in. Enjoy!

    Having booked zorbing the previous night, we woke up early, breakfasted and headed off to the zorbing place. For those that may be unfamiliar to what zorbing entails, it is an adventure activity, where one sits in the centre of a large inflatable ball (if you imagine a hamster in a ball for relative size) in a small pool of warm water, and is then pushed off the top of a large hill, where one proceeds to roll down, either on a straight line course or on a zig zag course, being thrown about and generally slipping and sliding until it reaches the bottom. It's one of those activities you see around and never do, so we gave it a go.

    And you know what, it was a great laugh.

    Completely pointless, with no skill involved whatsoever. We opted for the zig zag course, got driven to the top of the hill, both dived in to the big ball, got told to hold onto each other or it'd all end up in tears, and then got pushed down the hill. It was hilarious and we laughed all the way down, uncontrollably being thrown about. We clambered out and then spent the next 20 minutes in the hot tub, as people started to arrive for the day. Glad to have missed the rush, we headed off feeling a lot more awake than we had before!

    It was raining hard by that point so we drive to a supermarket to get supplies for the next few days. Then headed to the rafting centre!

    We'd been tempted by the rafting a) because neither of us had rafted before (not sure how weve avoided it over the years of various adventure activities) and b) because you can raft over the highest commercially available waterfall the world has to offer. Just to clear it up, the rafting we did is where 6 people sit in an inflatable boat with an instructor at the rear, and paddle down a section of a river with rapids and waterfalls, not the rafting where you build one out of wood, rope and barrels. Anyhoo, the centre was brilliant as you can imagine a NZ adventure centre to be. Everyone was unbelievably cool and there was a collie with relentless enthusiasm for playing fetch. We got kitted up and hopped on a bus to the start of the river section.

    Little bit of info about the Kaituna River (Kai stands for food, tuna for eel). It was a great source of food in old tribal Mauri days and tribes would often battle the current tribe who claimed the river (who still own it to this day). The river was a blessing to the tribe, as it provided them with food and water, so tribesmen who fell in battle would be lowered into the river to be devoured by the eels. They were then carried to the caves that the river flowed over and buried in these tombs. Therefore, before you enter the river and go over a certain waterfall that a tribal king was buried under, they do a Mauri prayer/chant to the elders that says thank you for allowing us to enjoy the river and please don't hurt us along the way. Great addition to the activity and we felt honoured to be a part of it.

    So we set off. The rapids were great and the first waterfalls a great laugh. We then came to the big waterfall and got told there'd be 4 scenarios. 1) everyone stays in the boat and the boat stays upright. 2) The boat stays upright but some people fall out. 3) The boat flips upside down and everyone is holding on around the edge underneath the boat in the water. 4) The boat flips upside down and everyone gets thrown out and dragged down the river. There was no guarantee of any of them as each scenario is as likely as the other. So we paddled towards the edge of the 6m cliff and hunkered down as we dropped over the edge, plunged into the water and came up surprisingly in scenario 1. It was brilliant fun! We then went down the river, going over smaller waterfalls and messing around in rapids. Izzi volunteered to kneel at the front of the raft, and we paddled hard upstream into the flow of the rapid. The water flowed into the raft and drenched us all, and Izzi forgetting to hold on, got flipped in slow motion over the front and under the water. Having visions of her being barrelled under the rapids at centre parks, it was a great relief to see her bobbing along down the river. We pulled her back in and made our way down to the finish, and back to the centre. Brilliant activity!!!

    We got dressed and finished off lunch before heading to check into the overnight stop. It was in the front yard of a house, and a gentleman came down from his workshop to greet us. He was very welcoming, showed us around and told us about features of the local area, and told us he'd bring out a loaf of warm bread in the morning for breakfast before we left. Really nice guy! We took his advice and went down to some hot spring pools that he'd recommended.

    These pools were a great mixture of relaxing and weird. It was a shallow lake about the size of a large swimming pool with a couple of tributaries coming into it. The water was muddy and scummy but apparently very bathable so we got in and hoped for the best. It was the temperature of a hot bath, heated only by the springs beneath it. There were patches of really hot and really cold water, and some areas around the edges that were well above 50°C that were avoided even by the most seasoned, local leathery bathers. We spend a decent time in there, taking photos of the scenery and trying not to get burned by the hot sections. A very relaxing afternoon.

    After we'd got out and sprayed the orange sheen we'd acquired off, we headed for the town to meet 2 of Izzi's old school friends who happened to be in New Zealand at the time in the same town. Such a small world! We met them on the main food street (called Eat Streat) and had a nice evening catching up and having. All in all, a very busy day!

    Sadly all the photos are on the GoPro which I haven't downloaded yet, so wait out for those!
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  • Day9


    December 16, 2019 in New Zealand ⋅ ☁️ 16 °C

    In Rotorua angekommen, hatten wir noch Zeit bis wir unser Airbnb beziehen konnten. Also erkundeten wir ein wenig den Stadtkern und machten uns im Visitor Center über die Gegend schlau. Dieses Städtchen ist definitiv das touristischste was uns bisher begegnet ist und es gibt Unmengen an Aktivitäten. Diesen Nachmittag konnten wir uns allerdings zu nichts großem mehr motivieren.

    Für Abends hatten wir dann eine Glowworm-Nachtwanderung gebucht. Unser Guide Stephen holte uns und 6 weitere Teilnehmer in der Stadt ab und fuhr uns eine halbe Stunde raus in den neuseeländischen Busch. Ausgestattet mit einer Kopflampe, einer Taschenlampe und einer Rotlichlampe, ging es in den dunklen Wald.

    Stephen hatte von Kindheit an ein großes Wissen über die neuseeländische Natur und zeigte uns allerhand interessante Dinge wie die Nationalpflanze den Silberfarn. Scheint tagsüber die Sonne von oben auf die Blätter, erscheint er normal grün. Leuchtet man die Unterseite allerdings nachts mit einer Taschenlampe an, erstrahlt sie in beeindruckendem Silber.

    Die Highlights der Tour waren ein toller Wasserfall und natürlich die versprochenen Glowworms. Diese leben nämlich nicht nur in Höhlen, sondern prizipiell an allen feuchten Überhängen. In diesem Fall konnten wir eine traumhaft leuchtende Wand aus blau-grünen Punken an einem Felshang betrachen.

    Etwas schade auf der Tour war, dass Stephen ziemlich durch den Wald gehetzt ist, was bei den ganzen Wurzeln und Steinen in der Dunkelheit auch nicht ungefährlich ist. Wahrscheinlich mussten wir zügiger voran kommen, um genug Zeit zu haben die wirklich schönen Fotos von ihm machen zu lassen.

    Gelohnt hat es sich allemal und die Tour wurde mit einer Runde Kakao und Keksen abgeschlossen.
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  • Day49

    NZ - Rotorua

    May 22, 2016 in New Zealand ⋅ 🌙 6 °C

    Well we took Jucy Dave out for his first journey, 3 and a half hours down to Rotorua. Im happy to say that driving in NZ is easy, maybe even easier than driving in England. And driving Jucy Dave is a dream, very easy!! So we found our first campsite. Unfortunately we got there a bit too late at night, it was dark and the ranger had already left for the day. So we pulled up at a random patch of grass and hoped for the best. Unfortunately we couldn't find a toilet anywhere so.... dignity has been lost! We had our first night of cooking noodles out of the back of the camper van and pulled the back out into a double bed. Which is more comfortable that you'd think. when we woke up the next morning it turned out in the clear light of day, that the toilets were 10 metres behind us 😣, good to know for the future though. Turns out we picked a beautiful campsite situated next to a beautiful lake in one direction, and a large beautiful volcano the other. We took a drive into Rotorua to visit one of New Zealand's infamous i-sites to get some local info, then had a walk around the town. It's a nice town but due to the closeness of the geysers it has a certain odour to it. The weather took a turn in the evening and we managed to survive the night surrounded by trees, sheltered in our car, with 80 mile/hr took a while to cook our noodles on the gas stove outside!!

    We drove out to Tarawera and took a hike around the lake. It surpassed all of our expectations. Anyone that enjoys hiking needs to come to New Zealand! The walk started like a normal walk around Derbyshire and then all of a sudden turned into a rain forest. One minute you would see rolling green hills of trees that went on for miles, then you would look down and see the beautiful vast lake, walk a bit further and you were walking through a jungle surrounded by palm trees walking down steps made of moss. I also had the crap scared out of me when we came across a wallaby. We walked for 2 and a half hours down to the lake, and sat and ate our picnic in the beautiful sunshine. However, towards the end of our lunch the sky darkened, so we started to walk back. Not soon enough, it absolutely poured it down. We were soaked. The walk back coincidentally was much quicker. I'm glad we did the first half of the walk in the sun because it highlighted the true beauty of the walk and surroundings. By the time we got back to the car we realised that getting dry was not going to be easy. There was no where for us to get dry or to dry our clothes. So, it was a very slow drive back to the campsite with the heating on full blast, and a detour at a McDonalds café to have a brew to warm up. By the way, McDonalds in New Zealand, so much nicer. You get your tea in a teapot with a cup and saucer, and you can buy pies!! We were knackered after the walk so we had our noodles, watched 3 episodes of lost (the first season came with the van) and it was an early night for us.

    Today we went to visit Te Puia, which featured the Pohutu Geyser, Mãori cultural performances, kiwi birds, boiling mud pools, carving and textile schools. This geyser was much different to the one we saw in Iceland, when we got there it had been erupting for 2 hours (we checked, it was all natural, no soap suds added). We saw the 2 kiwi birds that they are trying to breed in captivity, it's no wonder they are nearly extinct, they're massive and can't fly. The best part of the day was watching the Mãori performances. They were really good to watch. I can see why they used the dances to intimidate their enemies. On a slightly racist note I wish they would intimidate the Chinese. Chinese tourists are so rude!!!! They push in all the cues, take 50 of the same photo and don't let anyone else in, and are constantly spitting phlegm into public sinks!!! Note: my racism is only directed to the Chinese tourists...not the Chinese as a whole.

    On that note, we are off to Taupo, to see the lake and spend the night in a cheap motel so we can have a shower... it's been a while!
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  • Day3

    Kaitiaki White water rafting

    January 14 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C

    We decided to go white water rafting as a optional activity, we got split into three boats and made out way down thirteen rapids and three waterfalls. The biggest one was seven metres which is the highest grade commercial waterfall in the world, most of us made it however a few of us also fell out and felt the effects of the powerfall wateefallRead more

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