A day out

Jet boat agroventures You know the day is going to be interesting when it starts off with a two year old kindly explaining to you how her child safety seat works.

This was the start of a recent day tour of some things to do in Rotorua, courtesy of the hostel owner.

It was a wet and windy day as we set off with G, his two kids and Vera and I in tow, on a quick fire tour around Lake Rotorua and some key attractions.

First we wound around the streets of Rotorua, where various bars and local attractions such as the hospital and pharmacies were pointed out. The bars were good to find out about (the Belgian beer bar noted down as a particular point of interest), the other things were filed under Handy Stuff To Know.

Then we headed out of town, past the gondola, luge and wildlife park (home of the Kiwi breeding programme – I really need to go see some Kiwis soon!) and up to the agrodome.

I have to admit, the agrodome wasn’t something I was expecting to be particularly excited by. Years of seeing sheep dog trials on TV with Welsh commentary have perhaps left me jaded in that department. But it turns out that the agrodome is so much more than the admittedly pretty interesting looking sheep based activities (they have dogs that stand on sheep! And at least fourteen different sheep breeds that wander around the stage! And tractors!).

Agrodome bungy

Because the agrodome is also home to agroventures, a whole bunch of thrilling extreme adventure activities which have nothing at all to do with tractors or sheep. We watched people bungy jump off cranes, hurtle round a water course at 100km/h in a frankly insane looking jet boat, hover in the skydiving simulator, roll down hills in a zorb, and partake in the bizarre activity known as schweebing.

Schweebing, if you were not previously aware, is a bit like a cross between a monorail and a bicycle. Little pedal powered pods dangle from a track, and the idea is that you pedal yourself around at speeds of up to 50km/h. Which is pretty fast for something foot powered. I have no idea what other zany activities the Kiwis are going to invent over the next few years, but there are already plenty of fun things to do at the agrodome that have nothing whatsoever to do with soil.

Me swingingFrom the agrodome we headed further north around lake Rotorua, via a playpark to entertain the kids. Like Australia, New Zealand has some rather splendid playparks, often complete with skate ramps, and more than enough stuff to keep the grown ups happy too. Well, grown ups like me anyway, to whom a swing is an irresistible plaything.

Kids suitably entertained, our final stop for the day was the Hamuranu Spring. This is a natural fifteen metre deep spring from which gloriously clear water pours at the rate of 4.5 million litres an hour, having travelled for seventy years through a nearby mountain range. The water is a crystal shade of pale blue, fringed with both natural ferns and absolutely gigantic redwoods, and was perhaps one of the most peaceful and tranquil places I’ve visited in an awfully long time.

redwoods

Locations scouted out, we returned to the car and looped around the remainder of Lake Rotorua, with me on chief “trying to stop the kids from falling asleep” duty. Many renditions of incy wincey spider were the result, as well as the fascinating discovery that touching your ear with your toe is possible in the rear seat of a Jeep Cherokee, even when carefully sandwiched between two child booster seats. That fascinating fact imparted, I will leave you to get on with your life for now, at least, until the next time.




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