We left Paihia early in the morning. A great hostel with a nice and warm room and an awesome shower, just what we needed. The town itself was a bit sleepy but it is winter there.
Stopped off at the Waitangi Treaty house on the way down South. There was a big ceremony there ages ago where the Maori and the Westerners signed a peace treaty. More culture for us, we're doing pretty good with the NZ history as it happens.
Then was a big driving session for us. The Toyota Corolla was more than up for it. A 6:50 drive took us through Auckland again and down past Hamilton onto our stop in Rotorua. There we stopped off at the Funky Green hostel as we were booked in there already. It was cold, real cold there, the heating in our room didn't work. Not great at all!
Though we did manage to catch up with our friend Chris, who we met at Mantaray Island in Fiji.
You might remember him from the previous Haka pictures with Captain Nemo. Anyway it just so happens he owns a hostel of his very own and we went wandering over to check it out. Not only did he get us 2 awesome rooms for the remainder of our stay in Rotorua, he also took us on numerous (drunken and undrunken and free) trips. He didn't have to, but went out of his way to show us everything he could, we can't thank him enough for what he did! So here's a blatant plug -
GO TO THE CRASH PALACE IN NEW ZEALAND! - link here - http://www.crashpalace.co.nz/
Firstly, the night we weren't even staying at the Crash Palace, link above, we were taken out to see the Glow Worms. An unexpected and awesome trip, those little fellas are really cool, not to mention they glow at night. We were going to head down to the caves but torches kind of ran out and we had to head back in the dark, glow worms lighting the way... I'd put a picture of them up on here but they didn't come out to well, on 1 picture there was darkness, the next just one worm and the last one we got 2. So the worms didn't get camera justice.
The next day we checked out of the cold hostel and headed over. Chris was ready to go again and off we trekked volcano stylee. First stop was the bubbling mud pools, where we got an excellent video of one of them erupting but I can't put it on here unfortunately. The sulphur was pretty strong around there.
Following that, we hit the Lady Knox geyser, sneaked in at the end of it for free. Normally the geyser is set off by soap flakes in its holes at 10:15 but if you go at 10:45 you can sneak in for free. Again we got awesome pictures and videos.
After the geyser we went to a few rivers that are geothermically heated. We will hopefully go back tomorrow to go in them. They are just like baths and are just naturally amazing.
Following that, more car expedition into the forest to go to a Lagoon called Echo Lake that was also purely picturesque. We had to leave the Toyota and walk into it, the colours there were all green, blue and purples.
Yet more scenery followed, we trekked up to where the volcano blew up. The big crater was massive, it must have been a big explosion. The rocks were all different colours, reds, whites and greens, that is why it was called Rainbow Mt.
Lastly, we went down to the Lake front and saw an old Maori church, meeting place and graveyard. The people believed that you should be buried above ground as they cook in ovens under the ground, so they felt it would be like cooking you if you went underneath. We went to a carving shop and took a few cheesey photos too to round it all off.
We did all of this by lunch time too. Such a good day, we learnt so much and saw amazing things that would never happen in the UK.
Just to finish off the day, we had G & Ts and wine in the hot tub before bed. Quality.
Laters for now
P.S. Big props to Chris again. Cheers buddy.P.P.S. Happy Birthday to big Martyn of Edinburg-ishire!