Rotorua is near the center of New Zealand's North Island. "Feel the Spirit" is the local slogan. This area is considered to be the adventure playground of the North Island, so our visit to Rotorua was a real change of pace from the easy sight-seeing we did up north in the Bay of Islands region.
Genelle & I don't usually fish, but the water is so pure and the trout are so amazing in New Zealand that Frank & Vicki, our friends in New Zealand, convinced us to try it. They suggested that we go on a three-hour charter with Murray, owner of Clark Gregor Trout Fishing. Frank & Vicki have fished with Murray several times before and think very highly of him. Now we know why. Murray and his wife are super nice people who give very personalized service. As for the fishing, we caught a total of eight rainbow trout between 18 and 24 inches and about 3 to 4 pounds. That's a perfect eating size, although they are considered small for Lake Rotorua. NOTE: That's me in the second picture hooking the first catch of the morning.

Frank & I just couldn't pass up an opportunity to raft on the Kaituna River and go over the 7-meter (23-foot) Tutea Falls, the world's highest commercially rafted waterfall. However, this first series of four pictures is just a warm-up over one of the lower falls on river. There is more than one raft company that does this run. We highly recommend Raftabout. They were very professional.

Now that we have a couple of small practice falls out of the way, it's time for the Tutea falls. I included a closely shot sequencial series of pictures to show that our entire raft, and everyone on it, goes completely underwater at the base of the falls. I'm sitting in the second to last seat on the right side of the raft.

The Raftabout company runs the river in teams of two rafts. After we were down, we pulled to the side and watched our second team raft come over. I'm showing four of those pictures because they went even deeper than us and because the last picture in the series really cracks me up! I think she's yelling, "MAMA!!" Or, maybe it's "#$%&!!"

To end our rafting adventure, we did a little rapids surfing on a standing wave. We nosed under and just about flipped the raft. It was a lot of fun.

We ran the luge here in Rotorua as well as in Queenstown. They are quite different. The run in Queenstown is steeper and faster, but the one here in Rotorua is longer and has more turns. Doing them both is certainly the right thing to do! I don't have any photos of us on the luge because they don't provide professional photographers like we had on the raft trip. There are some good pictures of the track HERE.

Something that never ocurred to me to try is the Zorb. However, I had my 49th birthday while in New Zealand. Frank & Vicki decided to give me a Zorb experience for my birthday. I'm glad they did because it was a whole lot of fun. You can see promo videos on the Zorb website. Riders can take either the straight run or the curved run. Being adventurous, I took the curved run. I sloshed all around inside the Zorb as it banked off the corners. I laughed all the way down!

The region around Rotorua has a lot of surface geothermal activity. "Hell's Gate" is a georthermal tourist park with an onsite spa facility where you can take a hot mud bath followed by a hot sulphur spa. We did that and found it very refreshing. The tour of the park is amazing. Some of the pools are as much as 122C (251F). The minerals in the water are what allow it to get hotter than the normal boiling point of 100C (212F).
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