Our first full day in Rotarua starts with a good lie-in, I don't get up until about 09:00 and after showering I prepared some breakfast in the apartment, fruit salad with yogurt followed by some toast. Then it is off into town to explore Roturua.
As we could not book the flights on Mountain Air yesterday we go to the Volcanic Air offices on the lakeside and book the "Crater Lakes Flight" float-plane excursion for 11:45 that morning then we go off to do a little exploring, walking through the Maori village and marvelling at all the geothermal activity around us.
Suitably fortified for our adventures we book in at Volcanic Air and are introduced to our pilot, Rosie, who will be flying us today. We then take a photo opportunity with the float plane and are then boarded and taxiing out on to Lake Roturua. Rosie points us into the wind and we are soon airborne over the lake.
The flight lasts fifteen minutes - although it felt a lot shorter - and we fly over Lake Roturua, passing Mokoia Island then over Lakes Okataina, Tarawera, Okareki, Rotokakahi (greenlake) and Tikitapu (blue lake) . We then fly over the surrounding forests, the outskirts of Rotarua and land back on the surface of the lake and taxi back to the jetty.
Slightly giddy from our great adventure we then drive out to Rainbow Springs an adventure park where you can get up close with New Zealand wildlife. The trout streams, terrariums and free flight aviaries are ace, but even better is the nocturnal setting where day and night have been reversed and you can watch Kiwis, the birds not the locals, foraging for food. One of the three birds we saw is 53 years old!
It was pretty chilly today so we warmed up by sharing a Mac and Cheese in the cafe before embarking on the parks Big Splash themed water ride where you go back in time to prehistoric New Zealand, through the Maori and European arrivals and back to the future by a long drop log flume - excellent, and despite the cold day we went around twice.
Arriving back at the Arista Imade use of the laundry room to do some washing, unfortunately I seem to have washed a Disney Park Map with everything!
It may be winter here, but we are determined to get best value from the facilities. The Arista has a private thermal spa tub for each room, so we fill the pool and grab beers and wine and in we dive.
As it is getting towards dusk we drive back out to Rainbow Springs to catch the nocturnal Kiwis, after aboutan hour of peering into the gloom one comes out of the burrow and pretty much goes straight back in. However, another comes out and can be seen foraging for quite some time. The park looks lovely lit up at night.
It is now time for some dinner, we drive into Rotarua and park up. After far too much choice we settle on the famous Fat Dog, I have Nachos with veggie chilli. Victoria has the veggie burger, I think the photo speaks for itself!