So I've concluded that New Zealand reminds me of a combination between California and Hawaii.. with a greater emphasis on Hawaii. With the big, green hills and tropical plants.. it's very Hawaii-ish.
Today we spent 3 hours driving to Rotorua through the country. We stopped for about 15 minutes in Matamata, which is now Hobbiton.
Surprisingly, thus far I have seen way more cows than sheep. Rotorua is a really neat town full of geothermal activity... which is really cool, except that the whole town smells like rotten eggs. We got to learn the Haka which was reallyyyy fun. I learned that the Haka is a war dance that emphasizes finding your inner strength and courage in the moments that matter most. The words to the Haka are in the traditional Maori language and the dance incorporates hand motions that represent the meanings of the words. So naturally when it came time for our debut we were dressed in traditional clothing and face paint. This is a picture of the boys' war face.
Afterwards we went to Blue Lakes for the rest of the day. It was really pretty and reminded me of Jurassic Park. Fog was settling in the hills and they were so lush and green. We had a BBQ on the beach and played ultimate frisbee and learned rugby. I went in the lake... which wasn't horribly cold, but certainly chilly. It was a great day!