Why would I fly half way around to world to go to a city I can’t event pronounce? One word: Zorbing.
Since the first time I saw that giant plastic ball on Pinteret, I knew I wanted to do that. Originated and perfected in New Zealand, when I started planning my trip I knew it was a must do.
So I did. I went to stinky, impossible to pronounce Rotorua (by the way, you say it just as it sounds- Ro-tuh-roo-uh) to Zorb! After a relaxing week in Wellington, I got on a bus for 12 hours to arrive in a city where I kept looking around trying to figure out who farted. Not knowing anything about the town except a few enlightenments from the girls at the last hostel, I had a good feeling about it (but boy, something doesn’t smell right).
I got off the bus (www.InterCity.co.nz), made my way to my hostel (www.RockSolidRotorua.co.nz), check in, go to my room, smell my armpits – then it hit me. The geysers, the hot springs – THE SULFUR.
Rotorua is home to some pretty amazing thermal activity that a Maori tribe perfected, using to their utilitarian advantage. It’s beautiful but even the local can attest to the fact that you do not get used to that smell.
But onward and upward. I was going Zorbing, which I booked online directly through Zorb.com. I was not a fan of Rock Solid Backpackers Rotorua hostel (it felt like a prison with paper thin walls) but they did offer activity discounts when booking directly through the hostel. For Zorb, they had a 10% off discount but since I prebooked it it ended up being more expensive than booking day of.
Zorbing was everything I thought it would be. I shimmied into that giant ball through a small hole with about one foot of water in it and was pushed down a hill feeling like my favorite dress when I throw it in the washing machine. I. Loved. It.
Rotorua is is also well known as a Maori cultural haven. The Tewhakarewarewatangaoteopetauaawahiao (try saying that ten times fast) have built an unbelievable village among massive thermal activity. I was so amazed by their ingenuity, using parts of the boiling water to cook their poultry and hot spots for seafood and vegetables- even selling geothermal cooked corn for only $2 an ear (for more information you can go too http://www.whakarewarewa.com). I was in awe the entire time.
Rotorua is one of the best surprised I have ever experienced. Going there not knowing what to expect and being entertained, amazed and well-fed it is a place I am so I excited I decided to go to… And cannot wait to go back!