Excuse the title which is a play on the award-winning book and subsequent movie "The Accidental Tourist". The new title is perfect for my geographic origins and the fact that we've spent the last few days taking a break (a break from what, I hear you ask!) and doing tourist stuff with friends from Wellington that we catch up with annually. This year, it was in the Rotorua area. We used to live not far from there many moons ago and had visited the various geothermal hotspots many times. However, there were lots of fun things to do besides that, so no motorcycling adventures this time around and showcasing a bit of NZ instead. Here are one or two of the multiple things we got up to. Not a very PC thing to say, but nice to go sightseeing without being over-run by seething crowds!Mamaku Railcruising
The first lake visited was Okareka, which has houses scattered round the foreshore. Good trout fishing and the photo below is of a house with a private beach and various toys - nice! We were told that the Thai royal family also has a lodge on the lake which I guess could also be a bolt hole with all the recent unrest. However, paying guests are apparently charged NZ$6000 per night for the privilege of staying there. I hope that includes meals and use of the exotic water-borne toys they allegedly have there!
We were also amazed to see an air boat being retrieved from the lake. Didn't know that there were any in NZ! It's used by a contractor to spray Diquat, an aquatic herbicide used to kill hornwort, a non-native invasive weed species.
With no overseas tourists, it's nice to indulge in a bit of tourism in our own country and support local tourist operators. Also great to catch up with our Wellington-based friends whom we first met some years ago on a holiday in Rarotonga. Great weather throughout although the 200+ km drive home was in torrential rain and gale force winds. Dinner that evening was a makeshift affair as a tree had fallen on power lines not far from where we live so the BBQ on our deck was pressed into service. The storm was abating but it was still as windy as heck and right on sunset, everything was bathed in an eerie light. Made for a good photo though whilst I was cooking!