Welcome to the Smelly Lake District

Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
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Trip End Feb 26, 2011


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Where I stayed
Family Parks

Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Saturday, October 9, 2010

Wow, last night was certainly not a night for light sleepers, our campsite became a handbrake turn and doughnut fest at about 3:30am perhaps the most amusing thing was that we were approached by an older NZ man and told that people in these small vans often do things that break up the tranquillity of NZ'ers camping, caravanning and also local residents, generally we should try to behave ourselves and act like the locals. Well on this occasion we didn’t but to be fair the lads were ok some of them apologised and kept trying to get the group out into the forest so they didn’t keep people awake too much. The happiness of throwing glass bottles around is obviously a bit of a sore point.

Anyway we set off on our drive to Rotorua, the Lake District of NZ (the lakes are in fact all collapsed volcanos) at about 8am despite being really tired. We drove up and down the Bay of Plenty before heading inland to Central North Island and the cultural and geothermic town of Rotorua, one of the Pacific’s most active thermal regions and home to the biggest concentration of Maori people in NZ. We arrived as the personal abuse at me got to escalating levels. The lady was convinced that I was letting off eggy farts (again) however she soon realised that by opening the window the smell only got worse. It was of course the smell of sulphur in the air from all the thermal activity in the town. At once I was forgiven with a giggle.

We found our campsite again, Family Parks, on a two for one which meant that the bill per night came to about 8 per night and it was almost on the edge of Lake Rotorua. We headed straight off into town and had a quick wander about before heading to the Zorbing park. Zorbing is essentially putting a human being in a huge inflatable ball with some water (optional) then rolling down a big hill. Whilst I got stuck straight in and handed over my discount vouchers Erica wanted to do a special type of Zorbing called Zorbit where you got strapped in then rolled so it was a bit like an astronaut training routine. Unfortunately that wasn’t running due to the wind so I stripped off (not naked), got driven up the hill at extreme speed in a 4x4, asked to dive through a small hole into the Zorb and pushed down my requested zig zag track. It was really good but over far too quickly. A video is attached but the lady remained adamant she had to do the strapped in one so she would try again tomorrow.

I emerged after a bumpy ride with blood coming out of my foot where I’d caught one of my toes on one of the zips. Anyway that was it Zorbing smash! Despite my protests of needing a walk the rain meant Erica promised we would do it tomorrow. We therefore headed off to the Polynesian spa, out of 5 years it had been voted one of the world’s top 10 spa’s in 3 of those 5 years. All heated geothermically.  Whiffs aside it was for the most part a fantastic experience. There were about 8 pools at about 5 different temperatures and different mineral contents. It had swimming pools, relaxing pools and infinity pools with fantastic views of the sulphur lake beyond. There was one very sour point though, we were unfortunate enough to see a very large lady who was wearing a very, very badly fitting swimsuit that in the bottom of it didn’t fit and just gaped around the women’s nether regions exposing.... well everything, Erica said I had to double take before turning my head completely the other way and my face just dropped. Erica was in hysterics and did all she could to avoid weeing in the pool.  Despite paying for an hour we stayed in for about 2 hours and for some reason it had sucked the life right out of us. We retired to our campsite for another Thai red chicken curry and rice, with plenty of white wine, red wine and gin and tonics.
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