What a lovely day - once it got started. We all slept late! What a way to start the New Year. My first New Year's Day breakfast of 2008 was yoghurt and a pear. Healthy. My second New Year's Day breakfast of 2008 was a bacon roll. Yummy.
Rotorua was our destination for the day: an hours drive North. The car has TV screens in the back with a DVD player. There can hardly have been a better invention for keeping four children quiet in the back of a car. How wonderful that would have been for Andrew and Gareth on their long journeys between Lewis and Liverpool (and our October trips to Berlin).
Rotorua and Taupo are tourist areas for hot springs and geysers - a geothermal wonderland. That was not, however, one of our objectives for the day as we have all done the geothermal experience before.
So our first stop in Rotorua was the Luge. Up the mountain in a gondola, down in a luge, back up on a chairlift and back down in the gondola. Gondolas are a wonderful way of getting up mountains if actually doing the walking is not itself the activity of the day. We had our lunch overlooking the town and Lake Rotorua. Then Martin and the children luged their way down and chairlifted back. Then it was the turn of Wendy and me. The only other opportunity I've had to luge was in France on a very different set-up but I had to pass on that because I had a broken wrist at the time. So I had two firsts a luge ride and a chairlift ride. Wendy could not believe that I'd never been in a chairlift before. More rides for Martin and the children whilst Wendy and I had what was supposed to be iced coffee but was more like a very thick coffee smoothie. Where did four hours disappear to?
Then to the Zorb. Only Kiwis could think up such an experience. Absolutely amazing. You and a lot of water get into a clear plastic sphere which is suspended inside a larger clear plastic sphere and you roll down a hill! Yes. Really. And you pay a lot to do it. As I assumed it involved going upside down (I do not do upside down) I passed. Martin, David and Fraser took up the challenge. Having seen it, I would have done it if I could have been arsed getting changed and wet and then drying out again.
Back into the lake in the centre of Rotorua and by now the afternoon had gone and it was time for food. The remains of the picnic were disposed of whilst Wendy went off to explore a seaplane ride from the lake. Rather like the fireworks experience I have been in enough small planes flying over the Outer Hebrides (sometimes in stormy conditions I would rather not have experienced) not to be excited about another ride. However I was Wendied and off Wendy, Jamie and I went. And I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. New Zealand from the air is as magical as the Outer Hebrides.
Then back to Taupo and dinner after which Wendy and I went to the internet café and I came back to the Motel, downloaded photos and authored this posting before it was time, as Zebedee said, for bed.