Monday, August 10, 2009
This past Saturday marked my first official month in New Zealand! I can't believe how fast it has gone by. I went on my second trip this weekend, to Rotorua. It was about a 3 hour drive from Auckland. I rented the car so I got to drive - which was exciting because it was my first driving experience in NZ... and quite an adjustment from driving in the US. In New Zealand, the steering wheel is on the right side of the car, and everyone drives on the left side of the road. It was easier than I thought it would be to get used to, except for the fact that every time I went to turn on my turning blinker I instead turned on the windshield wipers... those are on opposite sides as well.
We had a busy and adventurous weekend. On Saturday, we got up and went Zorbing. Its this New Zealand originated activity where you are put into a huge plastic inflatable ball, either strapped in or with water, and pushed down a hill. My friends and I opted to do the Zorb with water, which was so much fun. We could also choose between a zig zag course and a straight shot, and the zig zag one was great. After that, we went back to the hostel for a few hours until being picked up to go white water rafting. This was my first time white water rafting and it was amazing. The guides were so funny and the river was beautiful, we picked the perfect day to go. The trip took us down the Kaituna river, which is apparently world renowned for rafting. The best part was the 7 meter waterfall, I later heard its the biggest waterfall that is commercially rafted in the world. The waterfall took the whole raft completely underwater. Surprisingly everyone but one of us was able to stay on the raft, one friend got thrown but she's fine and the pictures of it happening make it all worth it. After rafting, we came back and showered and got ready to go to the Tamaki Maori Village. Rotorua is known as the cultural capital of New Zealand, so it was a great opportunity to check out Maori culture. At Tamaki, we were shown Maori performances, such as the Haka. After this, we had a buffet style dinner of traditional Maori food, complete with steamed pudding for dessert. After an active day, the dinner was a perfecting ending. Finally, on Sunday, we went to Mai o Tapu Thermal Park, where we saw a geyser go off, and we got to explore the rest of the park and check out all of the thermal activity. It was really cool to see, but after a few hours the smell of sulfur had gotten to me and I was ready to head back to Auckland!
I've realized that I need to start buckling down with my studies, with so much going on, its extremely difficult to concentrate on school!