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The Volcano land of Te Ika A Maui - North Island, NZ

Nya Zeeland (Raglan) 2006-03-05

Kia Ora!

A "normal" year EvAnders would have been at the gym, Njoy in TABY the first Sunday in March to do a 4 hour spinning while watching the 90 kilometer ski race Vasaloppet on a big screen inside the spinning room! But this year is a different year so this first Sunday in March we are in Raglan, New Zealand where we just applied for a surfing school that will begin tomorrow at 3 PM. Our goal is to be able to stand up ONCE on the board and to understand the magic of surfing. Keep your fingers crossed!!

The Champagne Lake outside Rotorua. Click to enlarge.Before we came to the west coast we first spent three days in Rotorua. A fascinating town with a lot of Japanese people, hot spring, thermal baths, stinking smell and a lot of Maori culture. We went to Marae Ohinemutu and to the Museum in Rotorua where they have a lot of information about the Maori culture and also to Mitai where we saw traditional dances, haka, music and eat Hangi and had a good time with other tourists.

Wai-O-Tapu and Waimangu just outside Rotorua is two different places where we watched thermal activity - real Cool! Waimangu was created by the big volcano eruption June 10 1886 - something that we read about both there and at the Rotorua Museum.
Our last day in Rotorua we went to see Cheeps (sorry Sheep) at Agrodome. A LOT of Japanese people so that was sometimes more interesting to watch than the Sheep (sorry all Japanese friends!) They presented 19 breeds of sheep and showed hot to shear one. World record is 700 sheep in 9 hours, i.e. once every 45 seconds!! (It would probably take longer time to remove Anders all hair that he has on his body than shearing a sheep!)

After that we went to Kiwi Encounter. We have realized that the only way to see live Kiwi (the bird!) was to go to a Zoo or similar. Here they hatch them and let them live under control for a couple of month before they get released into the wild again. By doing this they have increased the chance for them to live from 5% to 60% - that is very positive as the number of Kiwis in NZ are decreasing every year!

The egg is BIG! It is as if a human would make birth to a 4 year old kid!!!!! We got to see three Kiwis when they where looking for food. Apparently they are only awake 6 hours a day and that is during the night - they have changed their rhythm so when we saw them it was their night. For those who do not know how a kiwi looks like we have downloaded a picture from the net - see pictures. We where not allowed to take any pictures.

When we went from Rotorua we passed by Orakei Korako (The Hidden Valley) - also a lot of thermal activity. On our way to Taupo we also made halt at Haka Falls - very, very small compared to Foz du Iguassu in South America but with a beautiful turquoise color. Haka means cotton candy and that is really what it looks like.

During our stay in Taupo we got the first sign of the autumn. Rain and very, very windy. We had planned to do the Tongariro Crossing put the weather was to tuff to make the 8 hour hike so we decided to go to Waiouru to visit the Army Museum. Very, very interesting and here is a tip if you are planning to go to NZ (or Australia) - learn what Gallipoli and ANZAC are and what it means to a Kiwi!!

On the way back to Taupo we stopped and took some photos of the volcano Mt Ngauruhoe - more known as Mount Doom in Mordor in Lord of the Rings - no good weather for photos though!

Eva took a power walk by Lake Taupo (NZ biggest lake) and she was glad that it feels so safe to do it. She noticed that all Motels and Hostels had No Vacancy". Why?? Well, the day after it was the Taupo Ironman. Shit - if we only had known!!!! But, when the competition started they had to cancel the 3,8 kilometer swimming due to the hard wind over NZ (the ferry between Wellington and Picton was cancelled for 36 hours) and who wants to do a shortened Ironman, i.e. only 180 kilometer on a bicycle and a 42 kilometer Marathon!!?!?!!??

Instead we went in the strong wind to Waimoto to a hostel with a pool?! Well, we skipped the pool and did a "Black Water Rafting" instead. Wearing wetsuit, helmets with a torch on the head we took our black inner tubs and headed into the caves with the 12 degree water for an hour, 60 meter below the surface!! A small group and we had so much fun and saw a lot of glowworms and other fantastic limestone formation under in the caves, however it was pretty cooold.

Tomorrow it's time for our surfing school at 3 PM!!!!!!



PS. If you want to see more pictures from East Cape - have a look at Warren’s website. Warren is riding his horses through the North Island and he has taken some really nice photos