This bucket list item was completed on 21st September 2014 in Tauranga, New Zealand.
This post follows on from my previous post, #65 Go Whitewater Rafting, which describes the start of my travels with my brother during his trip to New Zealand.
After leaving Rotorua we kept moving north and drove straight to the Coromandel Peninsula, stopping at a hostel near Hahei. We stayed at the hostel for two nights and used it as our home base while we explored the surrounding area.
One morning, after breakfast, we took off to discover Hot Water Beach. The beach gets its name from a natural underground hot spring located directly below the sand. Hot water, up to 65 °C, bubbles up through the sand that is exposed during the two hours on either side of low tide.
The trick is to get there two hours before low tide and start digging to create a natural hot tub. As we dug away the sand, it was replaced by hot water. A few other travellers were looking to do the same thing so we combined our efforts and made a large hot tub. We didn’t have shovels with us but a couple of the locals have seized the opportunity to hire shovels to tourists for $5 each.
Once we had dug our hot tub deep enough, we were able to submerge our bodies in the water. We had to be careful though because if we sat directly over a hot water vent it would scald us. Needless to say, the water was hot enough to keep us warm on a cold autumn morning.
After enjoying Hot Water Beach I decided to introduce Galen to spearfishing. We set off from one of the beaches near Hahei to see what we could find. There were not many fish in the water but we each managed to get one fish. It was enough for dinner that evening and Galen thought it was pretty cool that we could provide our own dinner.
Galen and I had a lot of things planned during his trip but we were only piecing things together through the Coromandel leg of the journey. As I was looking through the brochures in the hostel I found one for the Waimarino Adventure Park, near Tauranga. They offered all types of water sports and activities but most importantly, they had a blob. I was pretty excited, as I did not know that any place in New Zealand had a blob.
Galen agreed that going on a blob would be fun so after we made our way up one side of the Coromandel Peninsula and down the other, we headed straight from Waimarino. We arrived there on 21st September, which was only the second day they had been open for that season. When we arrived it was a ghost town. We expected to see heaps of people there but it was just a couple staff members. The staff members explained that their opening weekend is never busy but in the middle of summer it is overrun with kids and families.
This actually seemed like a good thing to us, we basically had free reign of the whole park. We tried all of their activities, such as the their kayak slide (the only one in NZ), the rock climbing wall and the gladiator pole where we battled until one of us fell into the water. Galen won two out of the three rounds and was declared the champion gladiator.
After we did all the other activities, we asked one of the staff members to get us set up on the blob. He gave us each a lifejacket and a helmet and told us how it worked. A blob is a large, multicolored bag of air that is placed in a river or a lake. The blob is positioned perpendicular to the shoreline and a raised platform stands overtop of the end near the shore.
A blob works by placing one person on the end of the blob, facing out to the water, and another person stands on the raised platform. When the person on the end of the blob is ready, the person on the raised platform jumps onto the end of the blob near the shore. The energy from the person jumping onto the blob is transferred through the blob, which launches the person at the other end of the blob into the air before landing in the water. The heavier the person jumping, the higher in the air the person on the blob will launch.
I asked the staff member who would be jumping onto the blob for us and he informed us that we were the only ones that were allowed to jump onto the blob and not them. He continued to say that typically in the middle of summer there are plenty of people offering to jump onto the blob and launch others into the air. Unfortunately for us, this was the downside of being the only two people in the park. This worked okay for me because Galen was slightly heavier than me so he was able to launch me in the air but when I tried to launch him, he did not go as high.
We each went about three times and made sure to get some good videos of the experience using my GoPro. Another item successfully completed from the list!
During the week we spent travelling, I had experienced many adventures with my brother but I had only taken one week off work and had to be back on Monday. We drove from Waimarino to the Auckland Airport where I had a flight booked that afternoon so that I could get back to work Monday morning. I trusted that Galen would be okay, to continue to travel New Zealand by himself, after I had shown him around for the last week. Before getting on the flight I gave Galen the keys to my car, a spare mobile phone, my GoPro and wrote down a few points of interest in Northland.
For the next week Galen travelled all the way up to the tip of the North Island: Cape Reinga. Along his way he stopped to do some deep sea fishing in the Bay of Islands, where he caught a shark and also tried sand boarding at the Te Paki Giant Sand Dunes near Cape Reinga. His trip was a great success.
Have you been on a blob before? Let me know if the comments below.
Make sure to read my next post, [#41 Lesson] Sometimes You Need Help, which discusses the lesson learned by completing this item. Want to be notified when new blog posts are uploaded? Subscribe below.
Dave has been on a mission, since 2010, to cross off the 100 items on his bucket list. The stories of his adventures are complimented by life lessons learned along the way and his travel tips are unique to his experiences.