Day 4: Waitomo to Rotorua

Trip Start Aug 04, 2012
1
5
17
Trip End Aug 20, 2012


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Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Today, bags to coach was at 7am and we were making our way to Rotorua. When we got there, the people who were going to be Zorbing (~$40 NZD) had to hop out and get their wristbands and everything for later, and then we went down the road to the Agrodome for our included sheep show. They showed us a bunch of different breeds of sheep and then sheared one for a demonstration. They also milked a cow and had volunteers go up to try. Then they brought out the sheepdogs who climbed on the backs of the sheep. After the show, we were able to go outside and watch another demonstration of the way the dogs herd the sheep. It wasn't terrible, considering it was included in the tour, but it didn't change my life either. The people who haven't really seen many sheep before seemed to be a little more into it.

After the sheep show, we went back to the Zorbing place (which was literally just down the street). Zorbing is where they put you inside a giant hamster ball and roll you down a hill. A lot of people were doing the Zydro Zorb (the one where they add water inside the ball), even though it was really cold. It was weird changing out of a hoodie and jeans in order to put on my bathing suit. As I was standing at the top of the hill waiting for my turn, I thought I must have been crazy to sign up for this in the winter. The water was really warm, though, so it wasn't that bad once I got in the Zorb. It was torture to wait at the top, though.

I had gone Zorbing before in Tennessee, so I had a pretty good idea of what to expect. The one in Tennessee just sort of felt like a water slide. But this one was actually a lot more fun. I found that I couldn't just sit up straight the whole time and I ended up flipping around upside down and stuff. I had no idea where I was until they opened up the zipper and birthed me out (the water gushes out with you and makes it look like you're being born). It was so much fun! Then I hurried to change back into my clothes because it was absolutely freezing.

After Zorbing, we went to the skyline gondola and luge place. The majority of people signed up to do the luge, but Lisa and Steven(?) did Rainbow Springs and a lot of people just spent some time in town. We took a gondola up to the top and then had lunch. I had a BLT, and it was pretty good. Then we went down to the luge tracks.

It rained the whole time we were at the luge place, so my hands were frozen by the end of my first run. I actually flew off my cart on one of the turns because I couldn't slow down enough. And this was on the beginner track, where it's supposed to be a leisurely, scenic ride that little kids can do. I don't know if it was the rain or what, but that didn't exactly make me want to try the more advanced tracks. The price we paid included two rides down, so most people tried the advanced ones on the second time down. I just went with the beginner track again and managed to stay in my cart the whole time. The gondola rides back to the top didn't even have covers over them, so we got soaked in the rain the whole way up. It was fun anyway, though.

After luging, we made our way to the hotel where we'd be spending the night. This is when we really started to notice the smell of Rotorua. The whole place smells like sulphur. It's mostly only bad when you first step outside and then you sort of get used to it. It's still not exactly pleasant, though. I liked this hotel because we had a double bed in one room and two singles in the other, and Catherine and Yvette let me take the double. There were even two separate bathrooms!

Dinner tonight was an included traditional Maori hangi with a cultural show. The food was really good (especially the dessert!), and so was the show. They asked one person to come up on stage and accept their welcome on behalf of all of us, and they ended up picking Ketan. When the woman asked what his name was and he told her, she said "Captain?!?!" and the nickname stuck. For the rest of the tour, he was Captain. They also had a bunch of women from the audience come up for the poi dance, and the men came up for the haka. This was one of the few chances we had to experience the Maori culture, so I'm glad it was included in the tour. It was a pretty good night.
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