One can’t help thinking that Rotorua is the equivalent of Queenstown on the North island. They both even have smaller tourist towns nearby in Wanaka and Taupo. They both offer a bewildering array of adventurous activities like bungee jumping and white water rafting. Today I had planned to go visit Hobbiton, the set where the Hobbit was filmed. But I clearly didn’t plan well enough as it was booked out and I suspect the price was enough to make me have second thoughts about visiting Hobbiton.
Instead, I headed for some local falls and a small hike through the New Zealand bush, to get used to my hiking shoes again. I follow the road around the east of the lake to visit Okere Falls. The first set of falls were not big, but had some historical importance behind them, with the remains of an early hydro power plant visible.
The second set of falls known as Tutea have a mild 7 metre drop, but the local rafting companies take people over it with no issues. In one episode of the Amazing Race TV programme it was part of a challenge to raft over the falls. No rafting for me today and I continued on and back to the car before heading for blue and green lakes. Blue lake or Lake Tikitapu, seems popular with the locals as a place to go swimming. By now it had warmed up considerably, so I returned to town for a break.
In the evening I headed for Skyline Rotorua to do my one adventurous activity and ride the luge. Similar setup to Queenstown, although the gondola ride up is less scary the luge ride is longer and has a much longer chairlift ride back up. Other than dodging some Japanese tourists twice as they were stopped mid-track and taking selfies it was not too hair raising. The nighttime lighting though was good and because of the negative response I got from the photo taken at Queenstown I declined on buying any photos from the Rotorua ride.
Tomorrow is Waitangi day in NZ. I used to think it was a bit like Australia day, and it is, but only in the political sense and the politics that occur. As I discovered in Wellington, the Treaty or Waitangi is great in principle, except the British wrote it to manipulate and control the Maori and due to lack of words in the Maori language, the Maori translation was totally different. Sorting this stuff out is still going almost 200 years later.
Tomorrow I may go blogless, because it is a public holiday and because Thursday is going to be a big hike of the Tongariro crossing, so not planning to do anything but drive from here to there!