So today, we hired a car and went all tourist on the Rotorua region.
|The Mandatory Self Portrait at the thermal pool.|
So we got picked up in our mighty machine by Nicola from Pegasus Car Rentals only to find that our vehicle of choice today was of make and model unknown and a tad older than I expected (with 180,000kms on the clock).
|Our mighty beast.|
So, with our mighty beast in hand we headed straight over to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland (note that: this wasn't a park - it was a wonderland) to see the marvel of the Lady Knox Geyser which to my geological delight, erupted at exactly 10.15am everyday.
|10:14:58 seconds and waiting ...|
Thus was spent one of the best weeks of my life, soaking in hot springs and ice flow rivers and generally just exploring the geothermal wonders of the park. Seriously, if its not on your bucket list - add it. If I didn't live in Tasmania, Montana would be one of the next places on my list to live.
So with that background, and having spent a day watching Old Faithful (which I now see you can watch online), you can imagine how less than impressed I was with the following events:
1. After forking over our $60 for our tickets, we were told by the ticket seller "Oh, I should tell you she's (the geyser) not performing at her best right now" ... No, I thought to myself, that's something you should have told me before you sold me the tickets.
2. Finding out that two cups of coffee and two sausage rolls cost $18 ... I thought this was Wonderland, not Movieworld?
3. (and most importantly) arriving at the geyser (30 minutes early to get a good seat) to find out that in fact this is not a natural geyser like Old Faithful, and that in fact it is not really a geyser at all ... The darn thing was built by prison work crews in the area decades ago to wash their clothes in, and the reason it goes off so faithfully every 24 hours is because they pour some sort of catalyst into it to make it do so.
Fecking ripped off.
However, we had handed over our money, so we duly took lots of photos and then drove back to the main thermal site and wandered around there for an hour or so taking lots more photos wherever there was a sign telling us that we were looking at something. Yep, today I was a good tourist.
After this little experience, we still had a few hours to kill before Kim's massage extraordinaire experience ... so we drove back to Rotorua and ... wait for it ... we spent 2 hours driving around all of the souvenir and electronic shops looking for presents for the Monsters.
We even had lunch at Burger King.
I am the Tourist King.
After checking into our hotel (and almost crying about the three wasted nights we'd just spent in that hell hole of a youth hostel when we could have been staying at the Mercure for the same price), Kim finally got delivered to her Mud Bath Experience from which she emerged two hours later a happy, relaxed Kim ... though I'm still trying to reconcile that with her threats to murder the two stupid women in the showers next to her massage room who talked and shouted the whole way through her massage somewhat ruining the experience.
So after all that, I have to admit it was kind of nice that night as we sat in some restaurant called the Kurious Kiwi eating over-priced, over-cooked steaks on a bed of mildly warm chips to look back on the day and realise that maybe I hadn't missed out on nearly as much as I thought by not taking the tourist route on this trip.
Yep, I felt very good about that indeed.