Have you seen the film? It’s weird, a bit surreal, and completely unbelievable. Exactly like the experience we had this week that has been a definite addition to my ‘Top Five JWalking Moments’. Many of you will obviously know by now that there may be significantly more than five experiences in my list but that’s just the way it is. Okay?
As usual we’ll come to the moment a bit later. Oh and apologies in advance as I’ve gone a little photo-crazy. Too many that I just couldn’t leave out I’m afraid.
Cool name huh? Well not according to the Rotorua Tourist Board and a lot of people running the town. Apparently it was a nickname made up just to portray the town as an exciting party-type location but the jury seems to be out whether they like it or not. Regardless there is a great big sign at the top of the Skyline Cable Car which we visited a few days ago. We loved the sign and so did loads of other tourists so I don’t think the name is going away.
We’d had a swift cycle to the the cable car, spent ages finding somewhere to lock the bikes to,had a lovely trip up the mountain, enjoyed a little people-watching, wandered round a nature walk, posed by the big Rotovegas sign, and then visited the jelly bean shop. Quite a lot to see and do at the top of the Skyline.
If you’re into some of these Kiwi adrenaline activities there are zipwires through the trees, huge bungee swings, and the most popular activity is definitely the three Luge tracks. Great to watch and probably exciting to do (if you’re crazy).
So rolling back a little we’re staying in a great part of Rotorua called Kawaha Point, just north of the town on a peninsular overlooking Pourakau Bay. We’re staying with the lovely Barbara and Phil in their house ‘Grand Views’ and as Jo mentioned in the last post they very kindly lent us a couple of bikes to get around and we seem to be the only people in New Zealand who don’t have a car! Anyway, both Barbara and Jo appear to find the sight of me in a cycling helmet extremely funny. No idea why? We also had several comments requesting photos. What’s going on? So just to amuse you all here are a couple.
Happy now? Still funny is it? You can’t put a price on safety you know. I’ll have you know that in some remote parts of the world they think I look great.
As this seems to be turning into some sort of ridicule section here’s another fetching shot of the splendid barbeque that we had this week. Professionally cooked as always.
One of the best things about our whole trip has been the experience of living with and getting to know our various hosts. We have been so lucky in meeting so many kind and friendly people who constantly put themselves out to make us feel welcome and make our stays enjoyable. Every place has been different as have all of the hosts and each and every one of them have added a little magic to our adventure. Barbara and Phil have been no exception and we spent a fabulous evening with them when they invited us up for dinner and a few drinks.
Big Day Out on the Waikato
After our lovely evening we were invited out for the day and Phil and Barbara took us across to the Waikato River for an amazing 5km walk along the Te Waihou walkway to the Blue Spring through incredible scenery. The water in the river comes from the Mamuka Plateau and apparently takes up to 100 years through the rock into the river. So it’s incredibly pure and always a constant 11 degrees celsius. Unbelievably blue in colour the river just takes your breath away. Beautiful.
Lunch followed in a little town called Tirau before we headed out to Hamurana Te Kaikaitahuna (try saying that after a couple of drinks, or if you’re English). It’s another river but the walk to the Hamurana Spring took us through a 90 year old Redwood forest which had to be seen to be believed. The trees were all around 50 metres high and could potentially get to double that.
The day just got better and better as we reached the dark blue water of the spring where a deep cavern disappeared beneath us bringing that 100 year old freezing cold pure water. Never seen anything like it.
So that was the day then, got back home tired and happy ready to put our feet up. But wait. Phil asked us if we fancied a swim. A swim? Now? What? As you all know we never say No anymore so decided to go for it and after grabbing our togs and some towels we were off again.
The Hot Tub Time Machine Moment
All around Rotorua are thermal hot springs and there are countless touristy baths and pools which promise amazing experiences. Well Phil wasn’t taking us anywhere like that. He knew a small Maori owned spring down a side road.
So that is how Jo and I got to be sitting in a hot murky thermal pool in the pouring rain in the shadow of the mountains. There was hardly anyone else there so we almost had the pool to ourselves. As surreal moments go this was certainly one of the most surreal and incredible.
The water was actually boiling hot in the corner of the pool where it bubbled to the surface but a cold stream cooled it to a temperature of just ‘extremely hot’. The feeling of being immersed in the hot water yet being heavily rained upon was just fabulous and we sat for ages enjoying the moment and chatting with our new friends. We would never have believed that we could have been in such a special place.
The day ended in a delicious meal out in the aptly named Eat Streat in Rotorua where we shared a splendid 3 course meal at Ambrosia. Perfect end to a perfect day. You can see just how happy I was!
3.2 – 6.2.2016