The bus stop in Rotorua has a foot pool where you can hang out until your bus comes.
We went to an outdoor Christmas Carol Concert on Sunday. It was a crazy mix of 4th of July carnival with hot dogs and games and songs about the birth of Christ. Not very reverent but fun.
I had a Christmas Pasty full of turkey and stuffing at an outdoor market:
We did the Tamaki Brothers Maori Village experience thing. It was really fun. Not unlike the Polynesian Cultural Center in Hawaii. They were all dressed up, we saw some cool houses, they taught us about their culture, they sang and danced, and we had a huge buffet of deliciousness, my favorite part being Pavlova. Pavlova! I want some right now. Best thing ever. Everyone was so nice and fun. On the drive home the bus driver had us singing songs and then she started singing about the wheels on the bus going 'round and 'round and she drove around and around the round about. A lot. It was hilarious. And fun.
Huka Falls. My new favorite waterfall. This picture does it no justice. The water is moving really fast in a tiny place so it gets churned up until it is icy blue. It looks like an Ice Breakers Gum commercial or something. My new favorite waterfall. It was crazy.
Rotorua is the Yellowstone Park of New Zealand. We hiked and saw steam stuff and a geyser. Someone told us about these free to see mudpots and they were way cooler than expected. Boiling mud. Awesome.
Redwood forest. Of course New Zealand has one of those too.
The museum in Rotorua is in the old bath house where people with arthritis or whatever would come to soak and be healed in the sulfuric water. It looks kinda creepy now.
All the locals told us to check out Kerosene Creek. It is free to go to and has hot water. We got directions and followed them to this lake that smelled of sulfur and was very very warm. It was really beautiful. We had a ton of fun swimming and wondered why it was more of a lake and less of a creek. I didn't want to get out so we ate our dinner floating on our cooler lid. Then a local stopped by and told us we were swimming in the gross lake and that Kerosene Creek was further down. Apparently the mozzies lay their eggs on that lake (we think that means mosquitoes). So yeah, that was REALLY nice of her to go out of her way to help us. We jumped out fast and went to the proper Kerosene Creek which was a real creek with a waterfall into a swimming hole that was full of hot hot sulfur water. Amazing. But we couldn't get any good pictures because there was too much steam. We might also have ingested some mozzie eggs. I don't regret it.
This is my new favorite picture of Amalia. New Zealand has a TON of birds, and all of them seem to know that tourists have food. Amalia had to defend our cereal from an entire family of ducks.