Wednesday, 8 February 2012
New Zealand Day Thirteen - Rotorua
This morning started with a ride on the gondola, which is a cable car that takes you to the top of Mount Ngongotaha in Rotorua and gives a wonderful view of the town and lake.
Also at the top of the mountain is the luge – an exhilarating ride that rushes you down the mountainside on a three wheeled go-cart over a concrete run. There are three grades of luge, beginner, intermediate and advanced. I started on the beginner’s run then, feeling brave, took the chairlift back to the top to venture on the intermediate. It was good fun but at 9 o’clock in the morning a bit chilly and unsurprisingly, I lost the feeling in my fingers, which didn’t make holding onto the handlebars very easy. A cup of tea in the café warmed me up enough to take pictures of the view.
After lunch with the weather warming up to a pleasant 23 degrees we did an 11.4km walk through the Redwood forest. Climbing, descending and circumnavigating the mountainside on the purple trail took us 2 hours 35 minutes, not bad going when my usual stomping ground is the very urban streets of London. Part of the walk took us through areas where trees had been cut down and only piles of unwanted dead wood were left. Fair enough it is a plantation forest, grown specifically to harvest the wood but walking through the greay, bleak, devastation was depressing. It was as if the area was forsaken, hostile and not even the hardy fern dared flourish. Hopefully it won’t be long before new trees are planted and it feels less alien.
A relaxing spa at our motel was very welcome to ease the muscles after the day’s exertions. Tomorrow we return to Auckland – the end of our road trip around the North Island.