Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Squires Down Under - New Zealand Day 2

Day 9 - Rotorua - November 20, 2016

We had a lovely two bedroom condo with a small kitchenette in Rotorua, and it was nice to have the extra space.

I'm not entirely sure what's going on here.

Lots of Piano Tiles 2 playing goes on during our trips.  We don't let the girls use their kindles much at home, so this is a real perk on the trip.

Our first stop today was at church.  It sure is nice to be able to attend church wherever we go. We don't always take advantage, but this sacrament meeting was really nice.

Our next stop was at Skyline Rotorua.  They have these luge tracks that were a blast. They're similar to an alpine slide, except the pathway down the mountain is a wide concrete path so you can pass and race each other, as well as take different paths down the mountain.

First was the gondola ride up the mountain.

Rotorua is the adventure capital of New Zealand (at least of the North Island.  I hear Queenstown on the South Island is pretty awesome as well).  Rotovegas is one of their nicknames.

We grabbed our helmets and off we went.

We went down the beginner's track for our first ride.  Kate and Ada rode on their own, while Lyla rode with Alison.  Kate is pretty bold on a bike, but she was terrified of this and was like the little kid on the alpine slide that gets to the bottom with 10 people stacked up behind them.  Luckily, on this track people could pass her, but it was painful for me to follow behind her to keep an eye on her.  She was ready to be done after this.

I convinced her to ride along with me and she had some much more enjoyable rides.

Alison and Lyla. The system was pretty slick.  There sleds were loaded and unloaded from the chairlift automatically, so we didn't have to drag them around.

Alison and Kate.

We bought a 20 ride punch pass, and they didn't count the lap riders, so we had lots of rides. However, with the lap riders we couldn't go down the advanced course, so Alison and I did what any responsible parents would do.  We bought our girls ice cream and told them to sit there and wait for us.  We took a couple of rides on our own (and checked on them in-between).  It was super fun.

And beautiful!

It looks like we're about ready to play a live action game of Mario Kart.

This was definitely a highlight of the trip.  I would love to do it again sometime.

We grabbed lunch at the on-site cafe before heading to the Rainbow Springs Nature Park that was located right next door.

They had a water ride that poor Lyla wasn't tall enough to go on.  This poor short girl always gets the shaft.

The water ride took you through lots of bird enclosures and was a bit of a history lesson of New Zealand.


There was a drop at the end, which is why Lyla wasn't allowed to join us.

After I went on it, Ada and Kate convinced Alison to go on it as well.

We spent a lot of time looking at the wildlife and birds.  They have kiwi here in a nocturnal enclosure, but we couldn't see any in the dim light, even though we tried a couple of times.

I made friends with this lovely cockatoo.  I was just amazed at how interactive they were. I would try for 10 minutes to get him to say hello, then as I was walking away he would shout hello at me.  A total tease.

We bought a couple of boomerangs in Australia and ever since Lyla would beg 3 or 4 times a day to go out and throw them.  We passed this park and it seemed like the perfect place.  We'll need to work on our throws because nobody could get them to return.

Long trips often require trips to the laundromat.  We had a bit of washing to do, so we washed our clothes while we tried to find some dinner.  I think we ate at Carl's Jr.  One of the most surprising things to me about New Zealand was the number of American fast food joints.  McDonald's, Carl's Jr., Subway, Wendy's, Burger King, KFC. I may as well have been in Cedar City, UT.

That night we returned to Rainbow Springs Nature Park to try and see their kiwi birds in the outdoor enclosure.  We were able to see a handful of them.  Never a very good view, because it was dark and they were sneaky birds (we had to always be very, very, quiet), but they were fun to see.

Tomorrow: Geysers & Hobbits!

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