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February 18th 2008
Published: March 4th 2008
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Feb 16th
After a 13 hour flight the only thing I wanted to do was find anything that resembled a bed and sleep! That was not going to haoppen though. The group flight to New Zealand left LAX at 10 45- a good hour plus late. I can't complain to much. They served dinner... with wine. Yeah for international waters! We each had little tv screens on the back of the headrests in front of us so i attempted to watch a few movies but anyone who know me well will know that i fell asleep with 20 minutes left in the movie... every time! As all of us finally got off the plain we were herded into customs then off to baggage claim. That was an absolute free for all. There were almost 150 Australearn students on the flights and the bags all looked the same. We finally packed ourselves into three seperate buses and headed to Kiwi- Paka, the most charming little backpackers (hostel) I have ever seen. Finally got some food met my roomate, Kim. She is awesome and I was so excited that she would be going to the same UNI as me! The next couple days were filled with fun activities all put on by Australearn - they spoiled us!
Feb 17th
After a long night of everyone getting to know each other at the local pub, we all dragged ourselves out of bed to leave for the AGRODOME in the morning. Yes, the Agrodome to see the world famous sheep show, of course. They brought like 20+ different kinds of sheep up there! Who knew! One even had dreadlocks! Classic! Some audience member got the opportunity to milk a cow and feed baby lambs! They did sheep- shearing and even did some sheepdog demonstrations. Just like Babe! 😊
We then headed back to Kiwi- Paka for some lunch and grab our stuff for ZORBING! Best thing i have ever paid $44 for! So worth it! These balls are like 10' tall beach bals. Inside that ball is another smaller one suspended in the other by a billion strings. They stuff 3 people in the small ball put some water in it and push you off the top of the hill. I did it with my girls, Tina and Katelyn. Man we got beat up legs and arms were everywhere. Good new for Americans! they are opening up a huge Zorbing complex in Tennesse. Now you have a reason to go to there! haha
We picked up all the kids that went Luging (I have to go back and do that) and went back to get ready for dinner at the Tamaki Village. This place was so cool! It's advertised all over town as the "Living Maori Experience" and I was so excited to see it on our itinerary! We got there and they took us through this tour of small scene set ups where a narrator told the story of how the Maori people came to live in New Zealand or Aotearoa "The Long White Cloud." Then they led us down to the "village" where they demonstrated how the Maori people cooked, carved and fought. After that they led us down to another small stage theater where they performed The Haka and also told stories of their ancestors and sang the most beautiful songs. The Hangi dinner was next. This Hangi dinner is cooked underground. It was the best meal I have ever had. Lamb and potatoes and sweet yams and this stuff that tasted like stuffing just like Thanksgiving but way better! I also had the wine with my dinner called KONO. I have been looking for a bottle ever since! Can't find a single one!
Feb 18th
As soon my head hit the pillow last night I was out! I had to prepare for the caves anyway! After breakfast, we all packed into the buses and headed to Waitomo like and hour and half from Rotorua but only 45 minutes from Hamilton- where I am going to school. Kim and I decided to do the Tumu Tumu Toobing. We hiked up a bit to the caves in wetsuit "gumboots" (rainboots) and all! What a trek! The fields we walked through were all farm and then we climbed down a hole and there were the gorgeous caves! So pretty! The tour through the caves was half dry and half wet. We walked a bit and then got in inertubes and cruised down theis little stream with glow worms covering the ceiling. Our tour guide was great! He explained that those glow worms were actually Larva (sp?) and their "extracts" are actually what makes them glow. ew! hahah and they only live very short lives, just long enough to reproduce. They also have these strings that hang down and catch their prey kind of like spider webs. *See mom I am learning here!* After swimming through the muckiest muck ever we took a break at the "Hard Rock Cafe" and had Tea and Lollies (candy)! Delish!

Rotorua, which means "two lakes" in Maori, is such an amazing place. It is absolutely gorgeous and, of course it is known for its geothermal hot pools which are located around the town and in parks. As you walk through town, worn out from Zorbing or shooping you just take your shoes off and soak your feet in one of the hot pools and relax. Great place, hopefully I will get back there soon! For now its off to school, what a drag.


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