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Published: March 14th 2008
We arrived in smelly Rotorua on Monday afternoon - yes it really does smell bad! We hadn't realised how strong the rotten egg smell would be - even in the town! Sulphurus gas is just oozing from the ground everywhere! Geothermal fun!
We spent Tuesday morning checking out all the geothermal stuff - our friendly Maori taxi driver Tim (short for 'Timoti') who loved telling us stories(!) took us first to see the bubbling pools of mud - it was mesmerising watching the hot, steaming mud bubble and splurt up into the air! Then we were off to see the Geyser - which erupts at 10.30 every day! Very conveniently for the tourists! They provoke it by dropping a bit of soap-like stuff into the hole, after a few minutes it began to fizz over the top and gradually the pressure built up enough to cause water to be pumped high up into the air - about 20 metres high! Very impressive! Next we went to a geothermal park.... it was very atmospheric walking amongst the steam, hearing water bubble deep down in craters and seeing lakes and pools of water in so many different colours! - yellow,
greens of various shades, and even one with an orange edge with coral growing in it!
That evening we treated ourselves and went to the Polynesian Spa where we hired a private geothermally heated spa - and it really was hot! We sat there relaxing under the stars.... - great end to the day! Whakatane / White Island
We decided to get ourselves some wheels for a bit of flexibility - in the form of a Nissan somethingorother with a broken radio and a fair few dents! But it does the job and was pretty cheap! So... we drove up to Whakatane (pronounced 'Fa-ka-tar-nee'!)... from here V jumped on a boat heading out to sea - destination: White Island - an active marine volcano! We were all provided with hard hats and gas masks and once we'd landed on the island warned that it could erupt at any point! .... and apparently in the event of an eruption there's no point running because you're just a moving target for the lava bombs that the volcano spits out when it erupts! The last eruption was in 2000 and there was very little warning.... earthquakes are also a possibility
which would result in massive landslides... (basically they made us sign our lives away in order to step foot on the island!!) anyway - it was worth the risk! It was like being on Mars! Steam was pouring out of the ground, the gravel was discoloured in places by the sulphur making it yellow, white silica deposits and red caused by iron. There were helicopters flying in and out bringing tourists seeing the volcano the expensive way! We walked right up to the rim of the crater lake... check out the steaming green lake of sulphuric and hydrochloric acid in the photos - apparently its 50'C! We then wandered back towards the boat via the ruins of the factory that was onced used when they were mining sulphur from the island... definitely the most unusual and impressive island i've ever been to! Meanwhile, Sel and Toby found a beach to spend the day on - at Ohope, just along the coast from Whakatane... swimming was a little easier at this beach as the water was a little warmer! A great day was had by all! Happy Birthday Selina!
Thursday - Selina's Birthday! woooooooooooooooooooooooo! .... and off we went
to Taupo! We thought we'd do something fun and memorable to mark Sel's birthday - so we booked ourselves a little afternoon activity.... A SKYDIVE!!! We were picked up in a limo and taken to the airport where we were shown a dvd of what we were about to do! We were introduced to the guys who were going to take our lives in their hands and got dressed in our sexy blue jumpsuits! We were given a hat and goggles and fastened into a harness.... we then made our way out towards the bright pink plane and in we got - it was tiny! Taking off with the door of the plane open was a little strange! It soon closed though... the view from the plane was incredible and our instructors ran through procedures with us again as they strapped us together! Once at 12000 ft, the door slid open and reality hit! A girl who had jumped before shuffled forwards towards the door with her instructor and they sat on the edge... all of a sudden they were gone! - they disappeared so fast it was unbelievable! Then it was V's turn - eeeeeeeeeek! Towards the open door
we shuffled and sat on the edge with our legs hanging out of the plane - then we were out! Selina was next and then Toby! The sensation during freefall was amazing... apparently it takes 8 seconds to reach 200km/hr and after 40 seconds of freefall we'd dropped 7000ft to 5000ft - the instructor opened the parachute and then we were able to appreciate the view a little more! ... You'll be able to see all this in the dvd's we had made!
That's a day we'll never forget and for Sel - a very memorable birthday! We rounded the day off nicely with a meal at a Thai restaurant...
Today was a little more chilled out than yesterday! We drove up to Huka falls, and around Lake Taupo a little, where we found an isolated pebble beach to take in the view.... Toby went for a swim in the lake - see photo evidence!! And that's about where we're up to! Toby's gone back to Napier for a cricket match and we're heading to The Tongariro National Park tomorrow.......... phew - what a blog!
Lots of Love from Sel, Victoria and Toby xxx
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