Rotorua, where the fun never ends

After our night in the Maori village we were dropped off in Rotorua at the Base hostel we’d be staying that night. As we couldn’t check in until later that afternoon we needed to entertain ourselves during the day. This is the town where we could use our free zorbing voucher and we were due to visit the hot pools thanks to Katherine’s wedding present. In addition we’d heard about luging but only from people who’d driven too fast, tumbled out of there cars and were sporting painful looking cuts and bruises. All this in one day having had no more than 5 hours sleep? No problem.

when you Bungy they write your weight on your hand for all to see!

Jaqui & Austrian Steph had heard about naked zorbing, for a donation of $2 to charity you could zorb for free. After a quick phone call we were collected from Base and driven by a very helpful zorb employee to the zorb station? Centre? Place. This was the first of the activities where we had to be weighed before hand. Andi keeps saying shoes add a lot but I have to admit a travellers diet of beer and carbs everyday with not a whole lot of exercise is not giving me the bikini body I was hoping for. Let’s blame the New Zealand climate for not sweating it out of me. The next two activities we were weighed for a few weeks later i’d got even heavier and to make me feel worse, when you Bungy they write your weight on your hand for all to see!

Anyway zorbing. It was a great weather day and in between the rolling down the hill people were sat in a hot tub, plus the place had free wifi. All it was missing was a bar! We watched a few zorbs come down the hill noting the difference between the two runs; straight and fast vs zig zig and slow and bouncy. Then it was our turn. The girls were provided with towels whilst we wore swim wear and we had to get a lift from a 4×4 to get to the top of the hill where the zorbs were. We watched a couple go first in a tandem down the straight track and I noticed how small the hole was to get in the zorb. Water was pumped in and then a mat draped over the doorway. You then had to take a run and jump to dive through to get in. The water helped you to not get stuck and pleasantly it was warm. Not an experience to encounter if you get clostraphobic as they zip you in and then you can’t really tell what’s going on from that point onwards as all you can make out is daylight.

The zig zag route is a dug out hill and the zorb rolls you left and right and then dependant on speed you bounce as well. At some points I couldn’t tell which way was up but you go with it and laugh when you’re not getting water in your face. An employee waits for you at the bottom of the hill to stop the zorb after you’ve rolled a bit, tilt to get the door to the right position and then unzip for you to go feet first out as if you were being born with the water falling with you. I watched Andi zorb after me and couldn’t hear any screaming, then the girls went down the straight hill, with Go Pros! I ran to get my sarong to give them some privacy for when they came out of the zorb but saw the employee already had a towel for them. Jaqui and Steph also said the guy at the top averted his eyes when they had to drop towel and dive in.

Andi and I were quit thrilled with our ride so we decided to go again and opted for a tandem down the straight run. Arm-in-arm lay on our back we scream-giggled down the fast hill, I definitely think we went head over heels and I mostly kept my eyes closed to prevent the water going in my contacts. But it was still fun all the same.
Whilst we zorbed for the second time the girls used the wifi to look for things to do next, we all had a desire to see a Kiwi bird before we left NZ and there was a wildlife reserve in town. Bingo. The kind zorbing employee offered to give us a lift and then upon discussion of our plans said there wasn’t point paying to see them there when our Kiwi Ex bus was due to take us to Te Pua on the way out of town the next day and they also house Kiwi birds. We then decided to go luging.

Rotovegas is a mountain in the middle of town you pay to take a gondala up and then can take part in several activities at the top or just enjoy the view. We bought tickets to luging and once at the top secured helmets and away we went. It’s quite a self service mountain and apart from 2 employees at the start of the tracks that stamp your ticket and ensure you can use the breaks correctly, you’re on your own. I led the pack learning the corners and speed allowances for each descent and after the first learner track the real racers were out (Andi & Jacqui). Unfortunately the 3rd and hardest track was closed for maintenance but we still had 5 great runs trying different routes, speeds and overtaking opportunities. There were several cameras on route as well as one at the top of the chair lift you had to take from the finish back to the start of each track. Andi and I took advantage of the camera and posed each time after looking out for the fallen helmets stuck in trees and observing new drivers brave the beginners track.

It had already been a long day and we hadn’t eaten since the all you can eat breakfast at the Maori village. With hunger pangs we headed back to check in to the hostel. Having secured a private room that morning we were greeted with a family room which included a single bed, a bunk bed, a double bed, a bathroom and a kitchen, all to ourselves. Then the hostel was hosting a bbq next to the pool with reduced prices. A steak sandwich and beer later we were ready to wander the town. We walked to the hot pools and had a lovely evening overlooking the lake trying out the 36- 42 degree and plunge pools then taking full advantage of the hot showers with all natural tea tree toiletries and fluffy towels.

Next stop, Taupo, where we would hire a car to visit my long lost cousin Sharon.

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