Thursday, April 21, 2011

Bulls and Balls

Kiwis like to be silly, Tallulah said when we were in New Zealand in January. Too right, mate. This week, on our way up from Wellington to my hometown of Ohope Beach, we passed through a little farming town called Bulls, which bills itself as an unforget-a-bull town like no udder.


Everywhere signs keep us in the bull-ish loop. The police officer is the const-a-bull, the no-bull realtor lists houses as live-a-bull and unforget-a-bull and the Candy Cottage irresist-a-bull. And...well, you get the picture. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall of the town meeting when they decided on that one. "Hey guys, gather round - brilliant idea! Why don't we all put bull at the end of our names?" "Oh yeah, that is brilliant. What a corker idea!"

And what wee town has enough confidence to have a (very popular) family restaurant called "The Rat Hole."

And a couple of hours up the road in Rotorua we came across another inspired idea. I would hazard a guess this one followed more than a few bevies. "Guys guys, gather round...what about we hop in a huge plastic ball and roll ourselves down the mountain." "Oh mate! Choice idea, let's do that right now!" However they came upon it, Zorbing was born. Kevin and I waited in the cold and rain as our kids got trucked up to the top of the hill, squeezed into a massive plastic ball with a bit of water in it....and rolled down the hills like hamsters.

Down the road at Te Puia Springs' mud pools and geysers the rain came down in buckets and we bought $4 white rain capes. Our guide Mel called: "C'mon you Caspers, let's make like Richie McCaw and dodge these raindrops!" We did our best All Black captain impression doing the swift rain drop dodging making sure we didn't fall into the mudpool. In the olden days unwary intruders would fall plop into the mudpools and be part of that night's hangi (dinner) Mel joked.
Kevin and the Caspers
Te Puia geysers
Mel showed us into a dark room where we saw a Kiwi close up and asked us not to take pictures. "The only Kiwi bird you can snap is me!' she said ...and we did.

Mud Pools

Mel and I
Arriving in Ohope Beach, Cy took out his basketball and sighed: "My hometown!" Funny that, because he's lived in Oakland all his seven years and it's his first time on these shores. He's already a silly Kiwi.

Ohope Beach
Mum and Dad's house, Ohope Beach


  1. I've alway wanted to roll down a hill in an inflate-a-bull ball. Sorry. Couldn't help myself. But I really have wanted to do it. And the rest of your pictures? New Zealand has just made my bucket list. It looks AMAZING.


  2. omg, the bull town cracks me up, and I think the inflatable ball thing is a great idea, how fun!

  3. New Zealand Gothic in an unforget-a-bull town.

    And going all the way to Kiwiland to get rolled. What about . . . oh, never mind.

    And Cy is finally associating himself with his cultural home town. Right good trip, I'd say, lass.

  4. that rolling thing looks like so much fun! i would definitely try that! :D

    these photos are wonderful! thank you for sharing!

    <3, Mimi

  5. loving those hamster ball thingys!!!! looks like your having a ball and your photos are great . . . your parents house looks so perfect, serene and cozy!


  6. Udderly wonderful! Thank you for sharing. I want to play with some balls now.

  7. Those hamster balls and the bull-themed town are so funny!
    And Ohope Beach looks absolutely beautiful!!

  8. Sounds {& LOOKS} absolutely incredibull! ;)

  9. Hilarious! I want to go to the bull town. Bet it would be un-bull-lievably fun (hee hee - I just cracked myself up)

  10. I wanna go there! Do you have any china shops?

  11. OMG! Zorbing looks like wicked fun! I want to do that! :D

  12. Oh my gosh - this place looks awesome! Can't believe your kids rolled down the hill in those balls! Did they get dizzy?! Not sure I could do it...

    Happy Easter!

  13. Oh my gosh, The Rat Hole! That is too much

  14. The many bull references made me laugh! Ohope Beach is simply beautiful - paradise.


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