On the 2nd night we were fed up with the weather so we decided to sign up to the hostels beer pong tournament and the bar crawl. We played pretty well but were beat by the kiwis so we only made it to the semi finals but I think that's pretty good! Then on the way back from the last pub, we just had to get a maccy d's. My God...they do something out here called the Hunger Buster menu... $10-12.50. U can get the Big Mac one which comes with a medium big Mac menu (chips and drink), cheeseburger, and a chocolate fudge sundae! All for under £6! Easy to get fat out here lol.
Then yesterday, Sunday, the sun came out! So we decided to go for a long walk around Rotorua. We took in the free Sulphur and mud pools around the Park, and walk down and around the lake again, coming across a small slice of private beach.
In the evening we continued sorting out our WOOFing placement; we think we have found a place in the Coromandel. Free food and accommodation in a Bach (private cabin/holiday home) in exchange for 4 hours of work a day on a Dairy Farm and in a herb and vegetable Garden plus other odd jobs. If we succeed in getting a place with them we hope to start Wednesday or Thursday for at least a week and then maybe move over to the other side of the Coromandel coast and do some more WOOFing! So yea, trying to sort out buses etc is a pain in the arse up to the Coromandel! We also spent around an hour in our hostels hot tub, as you do, life is haed as a backpacker! Also skyped Ma and Pa.
Then today we had a full day activity booked; Wai-o-tapu (Why oh Ta Poo) thermal wonderland (meaning 'Sacred water) and Waimangu Volcanic Valley (why man goo) meaning 'Black water'. We had heard enough about Wai-o-tapu to know what to expect but we didn't have a clue about Waimangu we just showed up on the bus and was like WOW.
So the day started by getting picked up by our shuttle bus. We were a bit freaked out as the 'girl' from our hostel 'Sandra' (she was a transgender but was still in the transition phase, so she still had the facial features and voice of a man, but had the hair and body of a woman and uses the girls bathroom) was on the bus with us and normally this kinda thing wouldn't frwak me out, other than she was literally a freak, like, no social skills, stares at you, doesn't smile. Weird. Anyways we first stopped at some big mud pools on the way, and then a famous Geyser that is set off at 10.15 for us tourists. It's a huge eruption and lasts a good 30 seconds to a minute. There's only 3 places in the world you can see these Geysers; here, a national park in America and Iceland.
Then it was off to Wai-o-tapu which was super touristy but kinda cool! We were a bit rushed for time (had only an hour til our shuttle to Waimangu) but we managed to see everything. There were lots of different sulphuric craters, geothermal pools of over 85 degrees Celsius, and volcanic surfaces. Some of the pools were different colours like bright green, orange, bright blue etc because of the materials and gases within them, it was really strange but really cool! The smell of rotten eggs wasn't as nice though! It was a very hot day too so all that sulphuric steam made it even hotter!
Then it was off to Waimangu. As I said we hadn't a clue what we were walking into but it turns out it was the most amazing landscape/hike ever! It was basically a valley of colourful Sulphur lakes and streams, through a volcanic valley leading up to a huge volcano by a massive crater lake. It was like something out of Jurassic Park or the stone ages. It was simply stunning. It was a bush walk that took two hours and we decided to take one of the harder routes part way into it to give ourselves a challenge and see more. It was definitely a challenge but well worth it. The first crater lake you come to is magnificent, the blue colour, the swirling surface mist and the steam coming from the huge rocks made it seem so mystical, you half expected Peter pan, captain cook and Tinkerbell to materialise!
The colour of the Inferno Crater lake was a crystal bright blue, with a crater of grey rocks around it. Simply stunning.
I would say it was definitely the must see of the area. And the better location out of the two as there are hardly any tourists there, or at least it's so big you don't see many! The hike then continued on until the huge crater lake and Volcano at the end.
The bus then took us back to Rotorua around 3.15pm and we went shopping for Mussels ($3.49 per kilo so we got 2 kilos naturally) and chips - yum! Then we just chilled this evening as tomorrow morning is rafting at 8.30am! Eak! Will let you know how it goes, as long as I don't drown! Ha!