From Waitomo, we continued on to Rotorua -- the heart of Maori Culture in New Zealand. We read in a magazine that Kiwis had ranked Rotorua as the #1 most beautiful city in New Zealand five times in a row. As we drove into town past the seemingly endless strip malls I couldn't quite see the allure.
We drove in (actually I drove. P did most of the driving on our trip. The one time I experienced driving on the left side of the road was the trip from Waitomo to Rotorua) and found our motel -- the Malfroy Motor Lodge
. I have to take a minute to give two enthusiastic thumbs up to this place. If you're ever in Rotorua, I highly recommend it. It's not the lap of luxury, but the place is really well kept up and the owners are fantastic.
We arrived in Rotorua that evening and decided to have a quiet night. P and I had a 14 mile run scheduled for the next day, so we decided to take it easy. We walked to a nearby market and got some supplies and we ourselves a lovely dinner of grilled chicken and fish. After dinner we went for a soak in the Malfroy's mineral bath and slept like babies with visions of glowworms dancing in our heads.
The next day we planned our run and then when Ali was napping, we left her in the very capable hands of Michelle, and started off. As we ran I began to realize why this was considered such a pretty city. Rotorua is built on and around volcanoes and all this geothermal activity is part of its charms. We ran through parks of bubbling mudpools and amazing geysers, around the edge of Rotorua Lake -- a crater lake, through the quaint village center, past the museum, and then through to the Redwood Forest, and back home. It was definitely one of the most gorgeous runs I've done in my life.
Laughing gas craters beside Rotorua Lake
After a shower and lunch, we headed back out to visit town at a slower pace. We walked around the lake with Ali and almost got attacked by geese (do not feed these birds! They get very aggressive) and then went to an amazing Maori Village -- Ohinemutu Moari Village. It's right beside the Rotorua Lake and is just a lovely little place. We walked through there and had a wonderful time learning a bit about the culture and speaking to the people. We had dinner that night on a cute little pedestrian street called Tutanekai St. We ate a yummy Turkish dinner and capped it off with ice cream Sundae's.
Cute, but aggressive geese
Happy Ali beside Lake Rotorua
Shot from Ohinemutu Maori Village
The next morning, on our way out of town, we stopped to go zorbing. I was the only one to zorb. It was awesome! I highly recommend it, though it is expensive for what it is. What is it? Rolling down a big hill in a big plastic bubble with water inside of it. It's a combination of a hamster wheel and a slip and slide and it's really, really fun. I was hysterically laughing my whole way down. And I was literally reborn when it was done. I was squeezed out of the ball in a splash of water.
The Zorb Concourse
Being photographed before I get out
The Rebirth Part I