Thursday, November 24, 2011

The NZ experience Part 1: Sheep, kiwi fruit and the Zorb!

Day 3 (Tue, 22 Nov 2011): Day activity

Today, we packed a full load of quintessential NZ experiences into one day at Rotorua. I have too many great photos to squeeze into one post so I'm going to put them into 2 separate posts.

Because we had a full day of activity, we decided to have a good breakfast. Rydges is very family friendly in that they don't charge for kids. We paid for 2 adult buffet breakfasts and the kids ate for free.

We then headed out bright and early to the Agrodome. Few shows are more signature NZ than the sheep show - since NZ has 40 million sheep, with 10 sheep to every 1 person.

We were shown 14 different species of sheep, the most valuable being the Merino (right on top) as it has the thickest and most luxe wool.

The host then proceeded to shear a sheep.

Gus, the sheepdog.

Petting the spring lambs.

The indoor show was followed by an outdoor show to display the sheepdog's skills at herding sheep.

Following that, we went on an organic farm tour, in the same location. The farm contains kiwi fruit vines and olive trees. Interestingly enough, the kiwi fruit is not native to NZ. It originated from China where it's known as the gooseberry. China also grows more kiwi fruit than NZ. Betcha didn't know that!

This is a kiwi fruit plant.

Also got to try kiwi fruit wine and kiwi fruit juice.

The farm now also rears alpacas for their wool. Apparently, alpaca wool is far more valuable than sheep wool as it's softer. Alpaca wool sells for $35-45 per kg while sheep wool goes for about $4 per kg.

Feeding the alpacas.

Here's our host showing us it's not all work on the farm!

The farm also rears cows. The one on the left is a beef cow and the one on the right, a milk cow.

It was an exciting morning but the best was yet to come. Across from the Agrodome is an adventure park they call Agroventures. NZ is known as the adventure capital and they have so many uniquely exciting activities for thrill seekers (in case you didn't know, the bungy was invented in NZ).

Andre, being the adrenaline junkie in our family, went on 2 rides. One was the Agrojet. It's a jetboat that skims over shallow water. The driver goes round the course 3 times and does spins so it's pretty fun. I wanted to upload the video but I have limited wifi bandwidth in NZ, so only pictures for now.

The other ride Andre went on was the Shweeb which is basically horizontal cycling in an enclosed cylinder. Wacky! You can either race against another rider or pit your best time.

This was Andre's time for 4 rounds. He would have been faster if he didn't obligingly slow down in the last lap for photos.

We then headed to the next adventure ride which was only a 3-minute drive away - the Zorb! Here in Rotorua, this is the flagship site and one of the only 2 locations in NZ which feature the Zorb. If you haven't heard of the Zorb, shame on you!

You get into this giant globe which is pushed down a hill. Trust the New Zealanders to come up with the human version of the hamster ball. Again, I got a video but can only post photos here.

First you get into a van which takes you up the hill.

Then you get into a monster ball and down the hill you go!

Experiences are not cheap in NZ - eg it costs $70 for the 2 of them to go on the Zorb. That's a very costly 2 minutes! But these are unique experiences and there's a likelihood we may never get the chance to visit NZ again, so we're going to try everything we want to.

We concluded a very meaningful morning with lunch at the Agrodome cafe. Al fresco in the garden seating, very pretty.

Part 2 of the day continues in the next post.


Anonymous said...

Hi Monica,
Nice write up and pics.
Really bring back fond memories of my NZ honeymoon trip some 16 years ago... the scenes and places were vaguely familiar ... make me yearn to go back there one more time with my teenaged kids in tow ...:)

monlim said...

It's great to bring teenage kids to NZ cos they're old enough to appreciate the scenery and not need you to take care of their needs every other second. In fact, they can even help with the packing and cleaning up!