Rotorua is kind of the Queenstown of North Island except with the constant smell of bad eggs. It must be a little disconcerting to live in a place where every hundred meters or so there's a big hole in the ground with steam pouring out. Still we reckoned we'd risk 5 days or so. After a chill out day and a trip to the cinema we began our warm up with a bit of mountain biking on some really nice custom built mountain bike trails in some woods just outside the town. The next day we ventured a little further to visit the Wai-O-Tapu "thermal wonderland" and saw guess what - more steaming holes in the ground. There were also various coloured pools with names like "The artists pallette" and the "Rainbow Crater" which was perhaps stretching the extent of chromatic diversity a bit ( mostly yellow and orange with the odd bit of green ). There was also a geyser which was enduced to errupt on cue with the help of a little soap powder before a large amphitheatre of spectators. Sitting with several hundred people all staring expectantly at a small mound was certainly a little strange. That evening,
perhaps to ease our guilt over having so far completely avoided anything that could be considered remotely cultural in favour of going on lots of "rides", we went to a "Maori cultural experience"! Here a local tribe put on a few demonstrations of their dances, Haka, fighting etc before we got to stuff ourselves silly with lots of food cooked in their traditional earth oven style. Feeling that we were obviously good well rounded people by now we got straight back to it and went on a rafting trip the next day. This one by contrast with our trip in Austrailia was short and sweet. The whole trip was just a couple of kilometres but included some sizable rapids and several waterfalls including one with a seven metre vertical drop (apparently the highest commercially rafted waterfall) though to be honest it was much less scary than other things we've done. Included in our ticket was entry to the Polynesian Spa in the town centre. We went of course but I don't think either of us really get the concept. Oh, and we went in a museum. How cultural is that!