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  • Wai-O-Tapu

    The Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland, about half an hour south from Rotorua, is one of the two main out-of-town thermal areas featuring all the trimmings – Geysers, multi-coloured pools, bubbling mud and steaming hillsides. It’s all pretty impressive and the walkways and paths set into the landscape make it very easy, if somewhat touristy, to explore.

  • Rotorua

    The first thing you notice about Rotorua (which means “Second Lake” in Maori) is the stench. Climbing out of our air-conditioned coach and taking a deep breath of shockingly eggy air was a bit like stepping off a plane in a tropical country and being hit by that wall of heat and humidity.

  • Bus Journeys

    A few brief (ha!) notes on bus journeys here in NZ, since at the moment that’s how we’re getting around. There’s a network of buses operated by what seem to be two separate companies who appear to co-operate rather than compete - InterCity and Newmans. We bought a “Flexi-Pass” ticket, which works by time - you buy a certain number of hours and time is deducted from your pass according to some arcane system that we don’t quite understand, but so far everything is going well.

  • The, err, Joy of Sheep

    SheepForgive me for the title of this post – all will become clear soon enough. (And no, it doesn’t involve velcro gloves or any such thing, but did you really expect a visit to New Zealand to involve absolutely no mention of these beasts? After all there are something like 40 million sheep (compare to 4 million humans) in the country.)

  • Waitomo

    Cave MouthWaitomo is one of New Zealand’s premier tourist attractions, most famous for the limestone caves which riddle the hills and the glow-worms inhabiting them. Most people who visit the area do so very briefly, only allowing enough time to do a cave trip of some description – some involve a fairly sedate walk or boat journey through a cave lit by the green lures of the glow-worms, others are more adventurous and involved clambering up underground waterfalls and abseiling down pot-holes.