We left after Karl finished work on Friday afternoon and arrived in Rotorua about 7:30pm. Checking-in to our Atsala Apartments was interesting as it turns out it's just a house that has been split up into four separate "apartments". The owner, Ian, is an unusual man and proceeded to lecture the kids about how to behave in life! If we wanted to use Sky we had to ring him in his apartment downstairs and ask him to turn it on and request the channel as he had the decoder! The furnishing were very tired and not tasteful and all for the cheap price of $245 per night! We decided we wouldn't let it ruin our weekend so went out for a nice meal at Lone Star before heading to bed.
Unfortunately that was the night the heavens opened and it rained continuously. In the morning there was a lot of flooding around Rotorua including inside our own apartments! The ceiling in the lounge leaked and dripped all night long. We had a pot underneath it but still there was a huge soggy patch in the carpet and bulges in the wallpaper that were filled with water! We rang Ian several times that morning leaving message and went down to the office a few times but there was no sign of him. In the end we packed up our stuff and went straight into the Information Office where the lovely people there found us a fantastic apartment at Quest and negotiated a discount to make up for our bad experience so far! It turns out Ian and Atsala Apartments are well known in the hospitality world of Rotorua and they laughed when Georgia called him a nutter!
We decided we had earned a yummy breakfast after all that and I had been dying for an excuse to go back to Fat Dog - it was just as good as I remembered! Georgia had fat pancakes, waffles for Karl, mini puppy breakfast for Harry and good old Eggs Benedict for me! It was a relief to check into the much more run of the mill apartment at Quest but we didn't hang around for long.
First on our list for the day was the gondola and luge and it turns out it has changed quite a bit up there since Karl and I last visited Easter 1990! We bought a 10 trip ticket for the luge and thought it would be heaps but in reality we probably would have used up double that easily. The chair lift taking you back up the hill after the luge was a real highlight although somewhat scary for one of us not mentioning any names!
Paradise Valley was next on our list and we made it just in time to see feeding time for the lions. "Stand back or you will be sprayed with blood!" We also got to pat the seven month old lion cub Emma in her cage. Her fur looks cute and fluffly but it's surprising how course it is when you touch her. We walked around the remainder of the park feeding the various animals including alpacas, goats, ducks, geese, turkeys, trout etc.
With both the luge and Paradise Valley ticked off we made our way to Mini Golf and Segway rides. The flooding was problem here so only one of the courses was open and the Segway track was still completely immersed! After one round of golf we made the decision to come back Sunday and see if the Segway track was open again.
By now it was 5:30pm and we'd had no lunch so an early dinner was at the top of our minds! Karl chose Macs Steakhouse (big surprise) and we all had very nice steak meals. The kids also had a chocolate dessert each - I didn't bother ordering a dessert as I thought there was no chance they would get through it all but boy was I wrong. Chocolate brownie, chocolate mousse, chocolate ice cream, chocolate sauce and fresh cream - all scraped clean off the plate! We got back to our apartment in time for a spa and (chilly) dip in the pool.
Sunday morning rolled around all too quickly! We checked out and first on the list for our final day was breakfast at Fat Dog again before returning to the Segway rides. The track was still completely flooded out but the kids were allowed to ride up and down the grass on the road instead much to Harry's relief.
By this stage we were on a roll:
- Visit tourist attraction.
- Hand over the contents of your wallet.
- Have fun ride/activity.
- Find money in another part of your wallet to buy photo of said ride/activity.
So continuing in this tradition the kids did the Zorb ride which involves wearing your togs and riding down a hill inside an inflatable ball with water inside! We managed to resist buying the ridiculously priced photos but only because they were mainly out of focus!
Almost right next door is Agroadventures where the kids were allowed to choose three rides each. Both did the Shweeb and Agrojet (twice on that for Harry) and Georgia also did the Free Fall.
Our final event for the day was the sheep show at the Agrodome and Harry was the star! He volunteered to go on stage with some other kids to milk a cow (yes, it really was sold as a sheep show). Unfortunately Harry was last in the line so the host had a treat in store for him!
Host (from Palmerston North): "Do you prefer vanilla or chocolate Harry?"
Host: "Come here then" - takes Harry to back of cow and lifts the tail.
Harry: speechless, look of shock and horror on his face!!!!
After all that he did still get to milk the cow and was presented with a Certificate of Udderance!
After a Kapiti ice-cream each we were on the road heading home. Our kitten Jaguar was alive and well when we got back although the house looked a little worse for wear ....