"I wanna hang a map of the world at my house. Then I wanna stick pins in the locations that I`ve traveled to.
...But first I have to travel to the top two corners of the map so it won`t fall down."
-Mitch Hedberg

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Lions and Trout and Pigs, Oh My!

The sweetest part about booking our hangi at the information site was the free bonus stuff. Not only did we get access to the geysers at Te Puia, we got two free tickets to Paradise Valley – Rotorua’s Trout and Bird Sanctuary/Petting Zoo/African Lion Safari. For real.

Paradise Valley is situated twenty minutes west of town, which alone makes it worth visiting (seriously it’s really smelly in Rotorua). We made sure to arrive an hour or so before the 1:30 pm lion feeding – but we’ll get to that in a bit.

Care and I thought we’d be killing time watching trout and petting some half dead goat, but it was awesome. Our first stop was the kea enclosure – home to New Zealand’s alpine parrot. Care pointed out that New Zealand is so backwards – they have alpine parrots and warm water penguins.

The sign at the door describes these colorful birds as “cheeky and curious.” They’re notorious for stealing shiny things left unattended – the metal pieces of windshield wipers are a popular target.

Next, were the cutest pigs in the world. I cannot do these pigs justice. They catch the food you throw to them, and are so earnest it made us want to give them all our petting zoo pellets. Pigs rule.

After that were the most entrancing trout ponds in the world. I’ve personally never been fishing, so I don’t know anything about trout, but watching these things swirl around in concentric circles in crystal clear mountain spring water was a highlight of the trip so far. That’s right – trout watching was a highlight of my trip. What.

After this we entered the best petting zoo I’ve been in since I was young enough to freak out about farm animals. Goats, sheep, ponies, wallabies, wild turkeys, other different goats, boar, and alpacas all ate pellets out of our hands. Care liked the sheep, but the wonky teeth and “giant black eyeballs” on the alpacas freaked her out. The goats and I were bros.

The petting zoo was so great that we almost forgot about the lion feeding (not really, but the goats were rad). Care completely disregarded both the teeth of the lions and the electrified fence to get safari style photos. I think she’s got a career as an adventure photographer. I'll never understand how she can be so scared of alpacas, but lions aren’t a problem. Women…

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. Even though it was completely inauthentic to see lions in New Zealand, it was one heck of an experience.

And I ain’t lion! Ba-dum-bum-tchh! Hey-O!
There's a sweet photo album here, but it looks like you're using a device that doesn't support Flash.
No worries! Simply view the web album on Picasa.

No comments:

Post a Comment