New Zealand Travelogue – Saturday, 10th October 2015

Soundtrack: Let's get it started, by Black Eyed Peas. (The holiday can start now that there are no more long flights for a while.)

Google Fit stats:

  • Activity: 2 hours 58 minutes
  • Distance: 4.1 km
  • Calories: 1,983
  • Steps: 8,531

SWMBO, just arrived in Auckland

We went to bed on Monday then got up for our first flight.

Then we went to bed in Kuala Lumpur and got nearly 5 hours sleep.

Finally went to bed again, this time in Rotorua. And now it's Saturday. Time really does fly. This also explains why we’re so tired.

The flight from Auckland to Rotorua was an internal New Zealand flight in a Q300, and it was a whole lot more relaxed than any of the other flights so far. Internal Air New Zealand flights are awesome - you wait until boarding, then you board, none of the herding and gathering nonsense that other carriers do. It was the most stress-free flight I’ve taken in years. Just as well because we didn’t get any sleep overnight in Auckland airport.

The moon and Venus from Auckland airport

We got to our Rotorua motel (the Malfroy Motor Lodge) about 10am and (since the room wasn't ready) immediately headed out to explore.

And then we did a 3-hour bike tour.

I'd heard that exercising once you arrive somewhere is a good cure for jet lag but I don't really think we needed one. We just needed to get some sleep.

Rotorua is beautiful but smelly. There are natural hot springs and geysers around the place which are lovely to look at but give the whole area a bit of a whiff. The sulphur in the hot springs gives a nasty rotten egg smell which is unpleasant but not as pervasive as i thought it would be. Or maybe there's an underlying smell but my nose has already acclimatised to it.

The park in the centre of Rotorua is quite spectacular.

I kept expecting Yoda to emerge from the swamp

Every so often there’s a pile of rocks in the path, with steam rising.

Probably best you don’t walk or cycle over the rocks. Or sit on them.

The sheer expanse and variety of the geothermal activity is beautiful and hard for me to wrap my brain around.

Steam rising from a geothermally-heated lake

The bike tour covered a lot of ground - I think we did 5 miles. I'm glad Rotorua is mostly flat! Kelly was the tour guide - a former chartered surveyor, he prefers taking bike tours these days. And everything was 'fentestic'. The black swans, the mineral pools, the mud baths, fentestic. I haven’t got used to the New  Zealand accent yet so I found this funny. I hope Kelly didn’t notice.

SWMBO and Kelly getting ready to cycle

A government agency is creating an artificial wetland bank out of recycled plastic bottles. As if it's not cool enough creating the largest artificial wetland, it is seeded to spell out 'Rotorua' in very big letters. The plan is to transfer it up Lake Rotorua to the airport once the growth is complete, so that every plane taking off or landing sees it from the air. A lovely idea. Can’t see Belfast doing that for either of our airports.

After the bike tour we went back to the motel and finally checked in to the room. One of the reasons we picked this motel was it had a private mineral bath. SWMBO found the place and we both thought it might be nice to try it out. There are other places in Rotorua that you can go to for a mineral bath (like the Polynesian Spa) but that felt like a hassle - possibly an expensive hassle - compared to having one in the motel itself.

The Malfroy Lodge’s own little mineral pool

Boy did that turn out to be a great decision!

I don't really take baths much, preferring showers, and I've never enjoyed a sauna, but the hot mineral bath was great at easing aches and pains - especially my sore feet. I had a 30 minute soak last night, and a 20 minute soak this morning.


Then it was time to wash the minerals off using The Most Complicated Shower I’ve Ever Used. It was from Midocean Sanitaryware and it looked kindof like this one:

The Most Complicated Shower I’ve Ever Used

Awesome as the shower was, and incredible as the mineral bath was, I still have a sore bum from cycling. This is one of the many reasons I don’t like cycling.

That evening we bought some things from the Countdown superstore and then I watched S2’s team play netball in the tournament in Bangkok. Yes, I’m in New Zealand and through The Miracle Of The Internet I’m able to watch the live stream of a school tournament in Bangkok nearly 6000 miles away. This seems quite natural to youngsters these days but I still find it incredible.

After all that, sleep.

Now we’re refreshed, up and ready for the day. Today SWMBO’s uncle B is coming here with some of his family to show us around. I’ve met him but never the rest of the family. Terrified I’m going to make a fool of myself or embarrass SWMBO. Keep your fingers crossed!

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All the New Zealand Travelogue entries

Here are all the New Zealand 2015 Travelogue entries, in order Tuesday, 6th October 2015 – Travel to Kuala Lumpur Thursday, 8th October 2015 – Kuala Lumpur Saturday, 10th October 2015 – Arriving in Rotorua Monday, 12th October 2015 – Family and Whakarew...
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