Apparently the weather in New Zealand has been pretty poor recently – until we showed up! Today in Tauranga, the locals told us that up till now it was like summer hadn't really happened in the Bay of Plenty, but instead we were greeted by the razor sharp blue skies and intense sunshine that has turned the city into one of New Zealand's top resorts.
So, this was the perfect day to go down to the beautiful Lake Rotoiti for a sailing trip on a catamaran. On the way there, we passed field after field of Kiwi fruit vines, and then moved into the undulating coastline of the geothermal area that surrounds Rotorua, before arriving at the volcanic lake of Rotoiti.
The lake itself couldn't look much more idyllic – the hills that surround it either covered in yellowing hay or green forest, its waters reflecting the blue of the sky, and the waterside lined with posh houses. And, our catamaran was pretty luxurious too – the only problem was that the weather was too good; no wind to fill our sails.
As we motored off, we didn't have the most auspicious of starts when we quickly ran aground trying to avoid another boat, but once we'd refloated we had a very mellow morning cruising the quiet waters of this gorgeous lake. This being one of New Zealand's premier geothermal areas, we had to call in at some sulphur pools heated by hot spring waters, turning ourselves into human lobsters as we stepped into the steaming waters.
Whether it really does you any good I don't know, but it felt very therapeutic luxuriating in the semi-boiling water. My skin felt softer, but the one major downside is that I was now radiating an eggy, sulphurous odour that repeated washing couldn't remove. Even at the formal dinner this evening, I was followed by the lovely aroma of rotten eggs (everyone so far has been too polite to mention it)!
Having returned to the ship in the afternoon, we caught the Shuttle Bus into Tauranga itself – it was very quiet and fairly unimpressive. We should have stayed in Mount Maunganui where the ship was docked – the beautiful beaches there were absolutely packed with swimmers, surfers, sun worshippers, volleyballers, and people just hanging out and enjoying its holiday atmosphere.
You can see why this part of the world is growing in popularity – great weather, wonderful landscapes and golden sands. The Bay of Plenty has plenty to offer.
PS. Tracy went to (even more stinky) Rotorua, so we've included a couple of photos of its trademark spurting geysers.