Before our epic rafting trip, the ladies and I had a chance to wander around Rotorua. After breakfast at our flat, we headed towards the center of town and the Rotorua Museum.
The museum is surrounded by the gorgeous Government Gardens, and we definitely hit them at the right time of year.
And here’s the museum itself. Love this building!
Great chance for a group shot too. Thanks for taking this, random tourists!
We decided to wander through the rose garden on our way toward Lake Rotorua.
We smelled the lake before we saw it, and soon enough we were in front of bubbling mud pits that used to be frequented by 19th century tourists. They’re now strictly off-limits, even though some guys decided to jump the barrier right when we were leaving.
We skirted the lake and eventually came to a boardwalk I recognized from my first trip to Rotorua back in 2014. Beautiful spot for a wander!
All the manuka/kanuka trees were in bloom, but their almost nonexistent scent did little to disguise the reek of sulfur. Ah well, that just comes with the geothermal territory.
We made our way back into town to look for a lunch spot. We’d need a hearty meal to keep us going on our upcoming rafting adventure. As we wandered about, we passed the most New Zealand Christmas tree I can think of.
Yup, a bike tree!
We found a great cafe and chowed down.
So good, and the perfect fuel for some serious paddling and waterfall cruising!
We’ll skip the rafting, since you already saw alllll those photos.
On Sunday, we packed up our stuff and checked out of the flat. After a brief stop in town, we drove north to the Agrodome. It’s a massive farm-themed tourist attraction that does sheep shows, farm tours and much, much more! We were there for the sheep show (sheep thrills, eh? Eh?).
As soon as we entered the Agrodome itself, I felt like I was in some sort of agricultural church, the altar soon to be filled with sheep.
As we waited for the show to start, we got a look at some of the stars. They seemed impatient to get going.
Here’s the merino. What a hulk.
And this sheep was full-on creeping.
I can’t look at that photo without cracking up.
When the show started, Emma was given the “job” of holding the gate. Of course, it was all a ploy and the sheep was trained to jump the gate, while Em got “scolded.” Ah, theater.
One by one, the 19 breeds of sheep that’ve made it to NZ were introduced.
King merino wasted no time lying down. I would too if I had that much wool weighing on me. If you can’t tell, the sheep all have little bowls of food (and leads) that keep them in place.
Then, there was a shearing demonstration. This sheep reminds me of Higgs when he’s exhausted from a long day and wants a belly rub.
And my favorite part – the dogs! This breed is known as the Huntaway; they’re a thoroughly New Zealand breed created specifically for herding in hilly terrain. Sure, they can do ducks too.
They put Higgs to shame with their voices.
Then, the best bit. They climbed on the backs of the sheep. I don’t think the sheep were too impressed, but they must be used to it.
When the show finished, we were able to go on stage and mingle (YUSSSS).
The merino wasn’t at all bothered about interacting and looked pretty comfortable where he was. Look at his hoof!
Having the most expensive wool has clearly gone to his head.
And obviously I had to get a sheep selfie (shelfie?).
Southdown and I are best mates.
If you know me even a little, you know I could NEVER pass up a good doggy cuddle!
What a sweetie!
Finally, we had to stop in the baby animal room before leaving the building. Which one of these does not belong?
I’m not sure why this adorable pup was in there, but he/she was lovely.
Reluctantly, I followed my friends outside to have a coffee and wander the grounds before the long drive back to Welly.
Although I didn’t get any pictures, there were some donkeys nearby too. Emma went up to pet them, and when she walked away afterwards, one of them let out the most plaintive “hee haw!” I’ve ever heard. So hard to leave a place like this when even the animals don’t want to see you go!
The Agrodome is a tourist attraction through and through, but I think the farm show was well worth it, even for a group of people who’ve been living in NZ for a while. It makes you appreciate this wonderful country and its farming roots. Besides, I’m not one to turn down a show involving dogs that I get to pet afterwards. When I finally made it back to Wellington that night, Higgs was verrrry intrigued by all the smells on me. Andy also surprised me with a delicious dinner and a pumpkin pie in honor of Thanksgiving. Could a weekend be any better?!
In two days, Andy and I are headed up to Auckland to meet his mom Jayne and her husband Ian. We’re off to Waiheke Island for three days, and then Martinborough for Christmas. More photos to come in 2017! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season. Cheers to my friends and family near and far, and thanks for following along on my adventures. Love you all. 🙂