We went to pick up our hire car first thing today, this one is great! It's a Kia Rio and is in a lovely shade of gold! It's really nice to drive too!
We had a bit of a drive out today, 2 1/2 hours south to a Rotorua. (Jen and Grant had been before and had some errands to run so it was just the 4 of us.) We took it easy and half way there drove through a place called Matamata, in the town centre there was a sign, 'Welcome to Hobbiton.' We realised this was the place where The Hobbit and Lord of he Rings was filmed! We whizzed back round the next roundabout and parked up to take photos!
Look at the cute information place! Gollum was hiding in there.
As we were driving away we spotted another personalised numberplate! How cool!
We continued on with our journey arriving at Rotorua around lunchtime. We came to the Skyline place first. Here we took a gondola up the side of Mount Ngongotaha.
At the top there are a few rides you can do, a rather scary looking swing that swung right out from the mountain, no thank you! and a luge ride. We took the luge and it went about half way down the mountain, it was surprisingly very hard work and took every muscle I had in my upper arms to keep going!! (These photos are a mixture from both runs we did)
We then had to take a ski lift back up for a second and (although we didn't take it!) third go!
It started to drizzle a little and we'd finished there anyway so took the gondola back down but before we did we came across the Skyline character, Captain Gravity! (Courtney was too scared to have her photo taken too!)
Our next stop was Kuirau Park which has geothermal activity, including boiling mud pools and crater lakes. There was a pool where you could put your feet in to feel the heat of the geothermal water. It's all evidence of the volcanic activities in the area. It was very interesting.
Lastly we made our way into the town centre, Mark had seen a T-shirt on top of the mountain that he liked but they didn't have his size. We were told there was a shop in the centre and they had one so we bought it there.
The drive home went well, we stopped again at Matamata as we wanted to take a photo of Barnaby, the school bear, with the sign. (we couldn't find him when we were there this morning, it turned out he was hiding in my handbag!) We made good time and were home around 7:15. We got Charlie and Courtney into bed and then had an Idiot Abroad marathon, watching the last 2 bucket list programmes and the review one at the end of the series. We stayed up until 11:30, the latest we'd been up the whole time we have been here!