Monday, 23 December 2013

Rotorua Part 2: Kiwis and Tuataras and the experience of lugeing!

So, continuing about Friday. Rainbow Springs.

Rainbow Springs is “based around NZ's largest and most successful Kiwi Conservation Centre” and have released over 1,000 kiwis into the wild. ( In addition to kiwis, it has loads of endemic NZ trees and birds and fish and lots of information on them.
Firstly I just have to point out that the kiwis were not with all the other birds, since they are nocturnal. That also makes night time the most ideal time to see kiwis. We couldn't, but luckily Rainbow Springs have their own kiwi-house and they've reversed the kiwis', ummmm, time zone awareness. :P (I know there is a word but really can't think of it.) So it's dark inside, so the kiwis think it is night-time. Basically they're on European time.
A 'koru'
A tui

Also a few extinct ones... poor moas
A morepork (or lessbeef)
So, first we went round the rest. Parrots saying “hello” to us, massive rainbow trouts, loads of swans, and many cool NZ birds and lizards. One special bird was a kea called Jenny, who apparently considers herself a human being, therefore cannot be put in with the other keas. Also, the tuataras were an exciting experience - "living fossiles", meaning they existed, as they exist now, during the time of the dinosaurs. They specialise in pretending to be rocks (so they can then surprise their prey), so were being very photogenic. 
Jenny the hand-raised kea
The tuatara
Then off to the special kiwi area! Unfortunately I have no amazing photos of them, since it was dark and my camera isn't the most skilled. The experience, however, was amazing. I think one of the things I realised most seeing them live is their beaks, SO thin and long, really weird! They were quite shy but ADORABLEEEEEE.
Yay excited about kiwis
A lot of info on how you can help endangered kiwis
Beak-wiggling time!
The gift shop was obviously packed with all the possible cuddly toy kiwis possible, any size, colour, cuteness, coolness and fuzziness you could ever want. (Real kiwis however are not too keen to be cuddled and apparently don't like humans.) The most... IMPOSING kiwi-selection was a huge amount of cuddly kiwis, not too expensive and advertising in big letters the fact that all the money from those kiwis go to kiwi conservation. Each kiwi had a label around their necks saying “I helped save a kiwi today”. Obviously you know what followed.........
Many kiwi friends!
Oh! We also went on the “Big Splash” theme park ride. This leisurely boat ride around stuff like dinosaurs and ancient Maori tents, ending with a Log ride-type BIG SPLASH. So cool.

After Rainbow Springs, it was Skyline-time.

Skyline is a cable car thingy that takes you up a hill. Reminded me lots of Switzerland. Nice views, very cool.

At the top
 The best thing was however what you could do at the top. LUGEING. I really don't know if that's even a word but to clarify, it's basically 'driving a luge' and to clarify 'a luge', ummmm, this little car sledge thingy which you drive down a hill.
SO MUCH FUN :D Our ticket included three luge rides. You had a choice of three routes: Scenic, Intermediate and Advanced. Scenic was closed for the day due to a wedding. (The guests had to luge down to the wedding, such a cool idea!! But also very amusing/challenging/awkward for many of the women in short dresses and MASSIVE heels.)
On the chairlift to go back up
Again, this is adventure tourism. Maybe it's the Finn in me but I always amaze at how much you are trusted not to drive off the track and fall a long way down a steep hill or something. I think I screamed once on each ride and once my luge half-lost balance and for one heart-stopping moment was tilted onto one side, wheels in the air. 

Had a quick scrumptious dinner at Wendy's (a hamburger restaurant comparable to McDonalds and Burger King, but new and cool in my eyes) and then drove home. I literally could not stay awake in the car.
CC and his car with the skyline in the sky
One of the best days so far. :)
Introducing Bailey, the newest addition to my kiwi collection (to be given as a gift if I can bear to be parted with him...) enjoying some AMAZING Bailey's fudge
Lots of love to all my lovelies,



  1. Kuinka monta kiwiä pelastit? Ihania lintuja! Mitenkähän sen "luge"-sanan voisi suomentaa?

    Tässä kirjoittaessani mummo istuu vieressäni. Katseltiin juuri sun blogikuvia hiekkadyyneiltä. Mummo tykkäs!

    Hyvää tapaninpäivää! (Tämä on toinen lukukertani - en ehtinyt aiemmin kirjoitella kommenttia.) Äx

  2. When the parrots say Hello, do they do so in a NZ accent, or have they been trained to impersonate the Queen?
    Why is Betsy parked on the grass and not in one of the carefully painted parking spaces?

    1. According to CC the carefully painted parking spaces are for buses