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New Zealand – Rotorua & Hawkes Bay

Rotten eggs on the nose, Crushed grapes on the tongue

rain 17 °C
View Round The World on dbgomes's travel map.

Driving into Rotorua the sulphur smell hits you early on before you drive past the steaming mud pools! This volcanic town has a bunch of things to do in amongst its beautiful natural scenery. We would try to fit a few things in.

First stop on the adventure trail was for some Zorbing. In case you haven’t heard of it before, you hop inside a big rubber ball and get thrown down a hill. We went to the location of the first ever Zorb just outside of Rotorua. You are given three options
1. Straight track, zig-zag track or big drop track
2. Solo or with a friend (friends only on the straight track)
3. With water or strapped in.
We both selected the solo ‘water’ version on the zig-zag track which was said to be the most fun of the options.


After being taken up the hill Tanya was first to go and after a superman dive into the zorb which is filled with nice warm water she was kicked down the slope and all I could here were screams as she bumped off the sides on the way down.


I was next in and managed to get this video while in there.

It was a lot more of a buzz that we were expecting and I guess the closest feeling to being in a washing machine. You had no idea where you were going or when a big bump and turn were coming. We were both happy to check it off our adventure activity list!

We stopped in at the bubbling mud pools and steaming hot lakes right in the centre of town to check out the volcanism at work, surprisingly it wasn’t overly smelly down here compared to the road into town. Maybe we were just getting used to it or something.


We then took a ride up the cable car for some views over the city and to ride on the luge carts that they have up there. The views going up over the city were great but really that was just a side attraction to having some fun on the luge tacks. We got a deal for 2 rides and started off on the ´scenic track´ which we were hoping to skip thinking that it would be a boring one to figure out how to use the luges. I was wrong, this was arguably the best of the bunch and we got some photos and video after a few stops down the long track. It was an awesome ride and the luge was definitely faster, wilder and even more fun than I was expecting.


We took the chairlift up and hit the advanced track which was even faster to the point of getting air over a few of the humps.


Having had a blast on the luge (I think they should do one in the hills in Perth!) we checked into a caravan park which had its own thermal pool, perfect for a relaxing break before cooking up some food.


The next day was welcomed with some horrible weather. We drove out to the Blue Lake and Green Lake just outside Rotorua but they were both a distinctive shade of grey today!


With the dim weather we headed south to Lake Taupo stopping into the Huka falls for quick look before a few hours solid driving to get to Napier and Hawkes Bay. The weather wasn’t much better down here and we couldn’t see more than a few hundred meters out into the bay, however the weather didn’t stop us doing a bit of wine tasting, for which the region is well known.

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That night we did our first freedom camping picking a spot by the side of the highway and pulling in there to spend the night. We cooked up some hotdogs and enjoyed a bottle of red that we had purchased at the winery. There are plenty of rest stops just like these on the New Zealand highways and it was great to have the countryside to ourselves – well the passing traffic also.



Daniel – Zorbing was great and the luge was a bunch of fun. I know my brother and cousin would have loved it too and it would have been cool to have them here for it, as Tanya didn’t really enjoy me overtaking and bumping into her luge :-) I’m loving having the camper van, you have so much more freedom with it to go where ever you want, when you want!

Tanya – More excited about going skydiving at a later date I wasn’t expecting much of a thrill from the zorb – maybe the claustrophobic element adds to the buzz, it was great fun. The luge had some very impressive tracks and was brilliant fun, even for us bigger kids!

Posted by dbgomes 23:45 Archived in New Zealand Tagged new_zealand round_the_world

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