Day 3 - Rotorua
We had to awake relatively early to get breakfast (which we had at the most upscale McDonalds we had witnessed to date) so that we'd have
a relatively empty stomach by the time we were picked up for the rafting trip at 10:30 am. It was a full trip, and we headed south of
the town through managed timber forest to the Rangitaiki river. we had three total rafts on the trip, with a group from Holland and a father/daughter
couple from England. We rolled in a bus towing the rafts down rough lumber roads, and it began to rain. The river was small but clear and
swift moving, and we had to rebalance our raft as Nick was apparently a little heavy. The river scenery was beautiful, and the rapids
exciting but relatively well spaced as to give some breathing room. One slight downside is the branches we went under rained exotic-looking
native arachnids into the boat every time we brushed them.
We ate some river radish growing by the side of the river, as well as tasted a little of the water (intentionally, this time.) We finished up
the trip and went back to our hotel, arriving around 4:30 pm, after which we had a shower and headed to our dinner reservations at the
mountaintop. A gondola took us up to the buffet, which was quite impressive, and we all ate a good bit of food, plus drank some of the local
wine (Volcanic Hills Sovignion Blanc) Another feature besides the gondola was a luge (street luge) that you could ride down the mountain.
I took two rides down, both the intermediate and advanced, both of which were quite enjoyable, although the little luge cart shook violently
at high speeds and the Kiwis are apparently not big believers in guard rails. Nick apparently got the bum cart, and got stuck towards the end,
in full view of everyone, where I helpfully pointed out he was obviously too fat to ride this ride.
Before we retired, we stopped by the grocery store, where we picked up aloe for our sunburn (which we managed to get on an overcast, rainy day)
and some bubbly and such for the night. We drank and swapped old school stories until it was time to go to bed.
Mouse over the pictures for commentary, click for large images
Previous Day - Next Day