The Hidden Valley
I Arrived in Rotorua at 5pm after a 4 hour coach ride, and I have to say, I'm finding some of my stereotypes of New Zealand being challenged to the very core. For example, I have seen far more cattle than sheep on my journey through the New Zealand country side, but maybe that's just a North Island thing. I'm also finding that the country side is so luscious and green that it actually hurts my Aussie eyes that have been trained more for browns and reds. Getting off the coach, the first thing to hit me about Rotorua was… the smell. As I stepped off the coach I felt like I had gone down the trap door into the land of eternal stench (those familiar with the movie "The Labyrinth" will know what I'm referring to). Hydrogen Sulfide (rotten egg gas to anyone who's done high school chemistry) being the main distinguishable offender. According to the locals, it's not usually quite as bad as this, but whenever there is significant cloud cover, it traps in what can only be described as an odour straight from the pit of hell.
I decided to walk the 8 or so blocks to my hotel, which (thanks to a sense of direction inherited from my mother… thanks mum), ended up being closer to 15. Of course, it decided to pour down rain during this time, and I arrived at the very prestigious Rydges hotel looking like a drowned rat. The next day I picked up a hire car and headed off in search of "The Hidden Valley", or Orekei Korako as they say in Mouldy… I mean Maori.
|Geo-Thermal Activity at "The Hidden Valley"|
Just a tip for my Kiwi bro's here… seriously, if you want something to remain hidden, stop posting signs to it all over the freacking place. Worst game of hide and seek ever. I didn't even need to resort to the GPS. Anyhow, as I was warned by a friend of mine, the price of admittance to "The Hidden Valley" made one feel like the sheep weren't the only ones being fleeced around here. However, the thermal walk did offer some amazing sites, even though the rain kept interrupting my perambulation around the park. The park was rife with geo-thermal activity. There were Silica Terraces, fault scarps, Mud Pools, one of only 2 geo-thermal caves in the world, geysers galore, and of course pools of boiling hot water everywhere. It was a very interesting walk, and although I think they could make the price a bit cheaper, I'm glad I did it.
I ended the day by taking long moonlit dip at the mineral pools at the Polynesian Spa overlooking Lake Rorotua, then I tried a delicious New Zealand Rump Steak accompanied by an Otago Pinot Noir at The "Kurious Kiwi". The dip in the spa was amazing, and the meal was delightful.