Auckland, NZ – Wednesday, Feb 12th, 2014

Today’s tour visits Rotorua with stops at Rainbow Springs, Te Puia and Wai-O-Tapu.  I’m picked up in a mini bus by Mike from Flexi Tours at 7:10am.  The door on this bus did not open all the way so it was a little difficult to transfer from the floor to the seat, just not a lot of room.  There are 4 other people on the tour.  Flexi Tours gives you the option to chose 2 different things to see based on your likes.  The two I picked are Rainbow Springs and Wai-O-Tapu.  I’m the only one who chose these two options.  Some other options are Hobbiton to see sites from Lord of the Rings but the buses that take you to the sites are not accessible, a day at the spa and Waitomo Caves.  Rainbow Springs is a wildlife park with mostly reptiles, birds and fish.  It is fairly accessible with mostly hills with slight grades except getting to the kiwi exhibit.  This is a very steep hill I did not try based on previous experience.  They do have an accessible bathroom.

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I get picked up from Rainbow Springs and head to Te Puia for lunch, to see the geyser and traditional Maori houses.  Lunch was Hangi, a traditional Maroi food with chicken, corn, sweet potato and stuffing.  Lunch was excellent.  After lunch I first go see the mud pools then to Kereru Geyser, Prince of Wales Feathers Geyer and Pohutu Geyser.  There is a steep hill to get to the mud pool that I was able to go down myself but needed help up and a shorter steep hill to the geysers I was able to go down and get up myself.  The pathway to the geysers are paved except the area by the geyser which is very hard packed dirt that is very uneven.  There is much more to see but these are the only accessible parts.

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After making it back up the hills I go see the Marae houses.  The house are in an area of loosey packed gravel that was not too difficult to wheel through.

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Next Mike and I head to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland which I will need a fair amount of help because of the steep hills and gravel pathways.  Wai-O-Tapu is free to wheelchair users and after going through I know why.   No chance of doing this by yourself in a wheelchair and there are sections wheelchairs cannot go.  It is worth the trouble going through because the views are impressive.

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The Flexi Tour was very good.  Rainbow Springs was ok and really not much to see.  The other two attractions made the trip worth while.  Mike was great helping out through the Thermal Wonderland and went beyond what he had to do.
It’s about a 2 hour ride back to Auckland and I get dropped of around 5pm.  When I return the gentleman at the reception desk tells me that John from NZ Winepro called to apologize for Tuesday.  A good jester but it was still very unprofessinal.  After a long day, I stay in and upload photos and watch the movie, Now You See Me, before I go to bed.

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