23 December 2011

Rotorua, Feilding and Queentstown!

After I left Taupo the rain turned into a torrential downpour. I arrived in Rotorua and made my way to the hostel, which was just around the corner, but I still managed to get rather soaked. It rained steadily all night and the prospects of doing any sightseeing at all during my stay were not looking very good. So the next morning I began by going souvenir shopping and when it finally stopped raining for awhile I went along to find the Thermal Park. Being only there for about a day and a half I had no opportunity to see the more interesting areas outside of the city and the place itself is not actually that exciting. The thermal park was interesting though, it was full of small, steaming ponds and bubbling mud, which smelt quite sulfurous, but not as bad as I was expecting.

Then I wandered down to the lake, which was OK but the overcast day was a bit of a shame. At least it stopped raining for long enough for me to go for a walk though! I followed a track around a small part of the lake and managed to get my shoes utterly soaked through again. There were little sandflies everywhere, so that I was afraid to stop and take photos in case I got eaten. There were lots of birds on the water and signs to let people know not to feed the swans because they might attack!

There were pukekoes too, which are really cool birds so I had to take photos of them. Unfortunately there were no babies, they are really cute little balls of fuzz with big long legs and huge feet. After that it started raining again so it was time to return to the hostel. I was going to go to the museum but it was way to expensive for such a small place, and didn't look that interesting. What was most interesting was the way it looked on the outside and you could see that for free. Oddly enough, the musuem and some of the other city buildings were of a very germanic sort of style, I have no idea why. So instead of the musuem I sat around reading a book, and the next morning while I waited for my bus I browsed through all the souvenir shops.

The hostel I was at in Rotorua wasn't great, I chose it because it was cheap and had an Irish name, which I thought was funny. Considering the bad weather, I should have chosen the one with Spa in the name. Next stop was Feilding where I stayed a couple of days with a good old friend, but there is not that much to see in Fielding so we made the most of the nice weather and went other places! There was a windfarm up on the hill, it was incredibly cold and windy up there despite the nice day!

Then we went into Palmerston North to do some Christmas shopping, and went for a walk through the gardens. In the aviary there was a white peacock and a cockatoo that was digging a hole in the dirt.

We went to a town called Bulls, which is only memorable because of the way they work their name into as much as possible.

Finally, we spent time on the beach, sat around in the warm sand, went for a paddle but not a swim and ate way too much food!

I left Feilding via bus, which was 20 minutes late, and the guy I sat next to was from Ireland, weird coincidence! In Wellington the hostel was very hot and it was almost impossible to sleep but eventually it was morning and time to head to Queenstown. At the airport, I had just arrived at the security point when the fire alarm went off! At first all of the staff just looked up and swore a bit and hoped that it would stop but unfortunately it was an actual fire alarm so we all had to evacuate. Only the small part of the airport that I was in was affected though. After waiting around outside for awhile they let us go back in, back through security, and then not only did the plane leave on time but it arrived in Queenstown early! It was the first flight direct from Welly to Queenstown for that airline so at the other side there was a guy taking photos of the passengers departing, to commemorate the occassion! The weather was beautiful and there were ducklings on the lake.

I stayed the night in Queenstown, in the nicest hostel I've been in yet, at Nomad's hostel (it's a franchise), which turned out to be so nice because the building was brand new. They supply you with an evening meal and toast for breakfast, how great is that?! So today, Christmas Eve, I bungy-jumped from the Kawarau bridge, the place where bungy was invented. It was bloody scary! I did it once about 10 years ago and I remember it being scary but exhilirating. This time it was really just absolutely terrifying, I screamed the whole way down, then the rebound was OK, but I screamed again as I went down a second time, and then some more. I pretty much didn't stop until I was finished. Which was pretty quickly, the whole thing is so fast. However, I don't think I'll be doing that again, I don't know how people really find it fun, I find the entire free-fall thing like one of those falling nightmares. But they do, you can tell, they just jump as if it's not high at all and they whoop and cheer the whole way down. I wanted to be dunked into the water but it turned out that I was not heavy enough within my weight class (as in, the thickness/stretchiness of the rope that they use). The ropes are really scary too, they are made of so many really thin strands of elastic, the entire thing is just absolutely nuts. But I have done it now, next time I will save up my money and sky-dive!

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