Bay of Islands and Rotorua (North Island) New Zealand – December 2008

Rotorua, Wai-O-Tapu

Rotorua, Wai-O-Tapu

Hi again folks!    Here’s our next installments… J

Photo’s are at:

From Auckland and Great Barrier Island we moved north to the Bay of Islands where we were SUPPOSED to swim with the dolphins…….somehow I get the feeling you have to get REALLY lucky to swim with them at all and it’s all a big tourist ruse! Unfortunately on our day (although from what we gathered there seem to be about a hundred possible reasons one wouldn’t be allowed to swim with them on any particular day!) the water was too rough – apparently unusual….ummmm…who knows……so we spent 4 hours cruising the Bay (not altogether awful I’ll admit) and saw the sum total of 2 dolphins…you don’twant to know who how much that cost 😉

…..there were very close I concede – you could get within inches of them due to the viewing platform……but it was like a transatlantic crossing and we were getting chucked about likecorks in the sea so Geoff had to retire from the platform and spent the rest of the cruise looking green and pasty……were glad to get off the boat and head further north almost to the top of north island….Northland…..more rolling hills and some fab beaches…fishing village type area…..all pretty but previously ruined by having already seen GBI!!;-)

Sooo…..moved into entirely novel landscape and headed inland to the volcanic centre…..Rotorua…..a place of outstanding natural beauty (Waimangu and Wai-O-Tapu are like Yellowstone only much smaller) and outstandingly bad odours………not only the national parks reeked of sulphur but so did the town…which was an experience……to put it into some perspective it’s the sort of sulphurous odour which was still clinging to our skin 3 days later;-)

The sulphur pools and weird geothermal bubbling mudpots etc etc were quite stunning…….as was the sight of the 3 of us covered from head to foot in mud in the Hells Gate mudbath and sulphur spa experience – photos will NOT follow 😉 Hells Gate was Maori owned and the absolute worst smelling of anywhere in the area….more a combination of rubber tires and warm rotten eggs…yummyyyyyyyy….

Had to visit the kiwi sanctuary as G was desperate to see a kiwi and it seems there’s as much chance as seeing one in the wild as the Loch Ness monster….or a dolphin in the Bay of Islands ;-)!!……they really are VERY cute for birds and I’m sure would make a tasty alternative to turkey if you could catch one for Christmas;-)……sadly, 1 of us (I’ll not reveal who…but it wasn’t me for once) couldn’t resist the purchase of our very own kiwi mascot……and by that I mean we now have Kevin the Kiwi travelling with us as personal mascot and tour guide…..he has featured in several photo opportunities already and has aroused the same looks of derision as when Paddington Bear had his photo taken in various hotspots around Peru ;-)…..sigh……


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