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In Hot Water!

Wednesday 7th October 2015

sunny 16 °C

Although our time in Tauranga has been fine, and we had an amazing breakfast this morning, I was looking forward to moving on. It is one of the few places on our trip that I probably wouldn't recommend for those on a limited schedule. I was hoping that we could get away early, but a problem with a tour booking meant a phone call and a quick transfer of money and we realised our everyday account was getting low. The journey to Rotoroa was less than two hours so we had planned to stop at some waterfalls en-route. The scenery was lovely once we got out of Tauranga; some steep hills initially and the into farms and orchards. Perhaps not surprisingly kiwi fruit is grown and we went past a Australian style giant advertising kiwi fruit beside the road.

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The majority of the orchards we have seen in New Zealand have had high conifer hedges around them, presumably to protect the delicate blossom and fruit from the wind and frosts, and this area was no exception. We saw a sign for a honey farm/ museum and decided to have a look. The exhibition was led by a guide and ours was very new to her job and quite nervous. The displays were interactive and it was very interesting and we got the feel of what it is like to have lots of bees around you spinning and shaking as they pass messages to their fellow bees. We also got to taste the honey, which was delicious. Our guide told us about the health properties, especially manuka honey and she told me where there was a manuka bush that I could look at.

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There was also a hive we could look into. After our tour we brought some manuka honey, as they said that one of the things it is good for is digestive problems so I thought it might be good for my IBS. Before leaving we bought some savoury muffins for our lunch and then got on our way.

It probably took us another half an hour to reach the Okere Falls. I already knew that these were well known in the area for guided white water rafting and although neither of us were tempted to have a go, it was certainly worth having a look at others doing so. We were lucky as there was a group of rafts going down just after we arrived. The first rapid seemed relatively straightforward and all got down safely. We then walked down to the second fall and this was much narrower and steeper and two out of the three we saw turned over. The guides respond very quickly and seemed to have a well rehearsed routine but it still looked very scary. It appeared that one girl was a bit shaken up having banged herself on another person's helmet (so we heard later).

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We continued walking to where the rafts finish although there were none coming down at that point. We walked back the way we had come and got our car and then drove down the road, back to the bottom of the falls with the intention of eating our lunch. Whilst we were sitting there some more rafts came in. They all looked very exhilarated but there was no opportunity for them to relax as they all had to help get the raft out of the river and back to the trailers.

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Several local people also walked by and stopped. A woman who lives really near was walking two dogs, one of which insisted we throw sticks for him. Some young girls were doing some serious posing and photography and the two boys with them who were probably their brothers wanted to join in and I took a sneaky photo.

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By then it was really time for us to get on our way and finish our journey. It probably took us another twenty minutes or so to get into Rotorua, and we quickly checked in and got shown to our room. It was lovely to have our own space after the bed and breakfasts and particularly nice to have a hot tub on our balcony. We relaxed for a while and then walked to the local park which had lots of areas fenced off due to geothermal activity.

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We relaxed for a while taking advantage of the communal foot baths, which was slightly strange but great for wary feet. We then walked to the supermarket as we needed to get some food. This was much further than we thought and we were pretty tired when we got back to our room. We had a gin and tonic and went in the hot tub before dinner. We ended the day feeling tired but relaxed and chilled out.

Posted by Gill's Travels 21:32 Archived in New Zealand Tagged waterfalls rivers rotorua new_zealand geothermal tauranga rafting

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