Our second day in Rotorua was chock full of stuff, so I’m going to break it into two posts. Our first trip of the day was to the Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland (“Thermal Wonderland” seemed a bit cheesy to us – like Disneyland but really hot – but luckily there weren’t attractions like the Sulphur Dip, Geyser Hop, or Mother Nature Makes Fart Noises! Live Stage Show).

New Zealand is a volcanic island, and this is one of places that remind us that the whole island could explode under our asses any time.

Lady Knox geyser

Looks like Mordor

This huge expanse is called the Artist's Palette

Steve & Dana on the boardwalk over the boiling pits

We discovered where our cat Gordito was born

Educate yourselves, dammit!

The walk through all the different kinds of geothermal cool stuff led us through some native bush. It looks like Jurassic Park in here.

Where the T-Rex at?

The whole walk took us about 1.5 hours, and afterward we warmed our frozen selves at the tourist center. There Steve made a friend, a feral cat that had been adopted by the center’s staff.  They call him Tui after a native New Zealand bird called the tui, which is all black with a white patch on the breast.

Cece tried to take him home, but he wouldn't fit under her coat.

On our way out of the park, we stopped at the mud pools. I wanted to take a dip, but Cece said 1) it would probably kill me, and more importantly 2) it would get the car dirty.

I’ve been trying to embed a YouTube vid for 20 minutes and I can’t make it work. Click here to go to it.

On our drive around town afterward, we saw these cheeky birds wandering around a golf course.  They’re called pukeko and are fairly common around NZ. They’re big, gawky birds who look like someone bolted the wrong-sized legs on them.