Today’s adventure started off with our first home-cooked meal of the trip. Given the number of nights we’ve spent in hotels, we have yet to have a kitchen but today tag-teamed a lovely breakfast spread to start. Post meal, we made our way over to Rotorua Canopy Tours for a zipline adventure through the forest (thanks to John and Jennie for the wedding present here).
We were paired with a family of 5 from San Diego (with 3 small kids) for the tour and had 2 guides in what rivaled the bridge climb for the most thorough safety demonstration and safety processes on any adventure tour. After getting suited up, we boarded the bus for 15 minutes to the Danzie Forest Reserve and made our way on foot about 10 minutes to the beginning of the platforms.
The next few hours had a combination of bridges and ziplines as we navigated our way throughout the forest during the combination zipline and nature tour. The tour guides were bird aficionados and pointed out the many native species to the forest that we were in (we also had to go down one of the ziplines as birds, only Jennie and I from our group properly represented Team Chicago HoneyMeyers/EngagementMooners).
The ziplines were great and a nice mini-thrill adventure for us. The tour also described the company’s efforts to maintain and preserve the forest. We spent some time learning about the species in the forest that were threatened by a combination of man-made and animal threats and they showed us how they have numerous traps in place to catch rats, possums, and other non-native animals that are preying on the birds and trees in the forest.
After the zipline excursion concluded, we followed the Tour Guide’s recommendation into town for lunch at a nice little cafe. We then made our way to Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland to explore some of the area’s natural hotsprings. We spent about 2 hours wandering around the park looking at the nearly 30 viewpoints they had complete with information about the various elements and the colors that they lead to on the side. We saw many boiling pools and learned that the heat and bubbles were driven largely by excess carbon dioxide released under the water.
Post hot springs, John decided to have his first turn behind the wheel driving on the left-side of the road. Despite doing very well for his first round, he didn’t like the experience and passed on the remaining chances for the day. We made our way back to the grocery store to get some food for a home-cooked meal for dinner (2 in one day) and made a nice set of some local fish, green beans, salad, and of course, some ice-cream.
To conclude our day, we headed over to the Polynesian Spa for some natural hot-springs and discovered a variety of pools ranging from 37-42 degrees C (slightly warmer than your usual hot-tubs) and differing levels of acidity. Apparently, these pools are great for muscle relaxation and we spent about an hour lounging recovering from the busy day.
We ended back up at our AirBNB to devour our ice-cream and watch some TV before retiring for the evening.
Next up- our next road-trip day – a five hour drive to Martinborough as we make our way further South down the North Island.