2 Adults, 3 boys, 365 Days of Adventure
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We arrived in the port of Tauranga, easily picked up our rental car and were on our way for the hour and a half drive to Rotorua, which is famous for it’s geothermal activity.  I was pleased with how easy it was to readjust to driving on the left side of the road – not the slightest bit of nervousness or discomfort.  I guess it’s like riding a bike.

Our first stop was Wai-o-Topu Thermal Wonderland, which is said to be the best collection of geothermal features in New Zealand.  The park is best known for its Lady Knox geyser, which erupts daily at 10:15 (I still don’t know how it tells time).  We arrived right at 10:15 and feared we missed it but the lady at the ticket desk informed me that it actually erupts for about an hour so we had nothing to worry about.  We rushed off to get our car, driving as quickly as we could the mile or so to the geyser, only to find the masses of tourists leaving “the lady” just as we got there. The geyser was cool but not nearly as forceful as those in Yellowstone (or even in Napa Valley for that matter).  The rest of the park was filled with all sorts of geothermal wonders include boiling mud pots, a florescent green sulfur lake, a giant steaming bubbling pool and numerous craters.  The whole area smelled excessively of sulfur but seeing it was worth bearing potent stench.

We spend the rest of the afternoon at Skyline Skyrides, which has a gondola with great views of Rotorua as well as a unique “luge track” rumored to be a lot of fun.  The gondola and observation area (which was only halfway up the mountain) did provide decent views of Rotorua but the area itself is nice but – and perhaps we are becoming jaded here – is really not that special and we couldn’t quite figure out what all of the fuss was about.  The luge on the other hand was really cool. We sat on these little three wheeled sleds that had handlebars that were used for both steering and braking and then careened down a concrete path that had been laid in the side of the mountain.It definitely had the feeling of not being safe, and I think in fact it probably wasn’t, but that just added to the excitement.  Keeks loved it, Cracker liked it but pulling back on the handle bars to slow down hurt his hands and Bodie thoroughly enjoyed the ride.


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