The travels are still in full swing, the wallets are taking a beating, but we are adopting the ‘once in a lifetime’ mentality. Having to unpack and repack our bags on a nearly daily basis is becoming monotonous but life is pretty sweet all things considered… We had the pleasure of staying with relatives on Wednesday for one night in Tauranga in their luxurious house complete with hot tub, pool and two lovely dogs.
Following lunch, we headed straight out to conquer Mount Maunganui which is on our hosts’ doorstep and is also home to some pretty impressive views! The walk was harder than we anticipated with some steep inclines in places. Once we reaches the top we met two Kiwi gentleman who were intrigued by us Brits and were interested in our plans/our bag of assorted nuts. After enjoying some well earned dinner at the bottom of the mountain (Pronto Burgers) we returned home and called it a day. The following morning we said our goodbyes.
Whenever we embark on a new chapter in the travelling book we experience mixed emotions… excitement at the prospect of new territory, but apprehension because when you’re on a budget you tend not to be so confident about the conditions in which you will be sleeping each night. It’s fair to say that the accommodation in Rotarua named ‘Hot Spring B&B Kiwi’ has been the most peculiar so far. The building is home to around 5-10 Japanese individuals, with the decor reflecting this. We were greeted by a reserved and quiet lady who showed us around, within minutes the rules were being fired at us… shoes are to be left outside, no eating or drinking in the rooms, no showers past 11pm, clean up signs in every room, perhaps the most amusing of all, a curfew at 10pm, following which the outside doors would be locked! It should be said that the hosts have been immensely polite and the speed at which our dirty plates dissappear is astounding considering we never see these ninjas! One really cool feature is a large walk in hot spring bath which is filled with naturally heated volcanic water generated from underground- definitely the highlight of this stay!
Now Rotarua is quite unique for one strange reason… there is an intermittent stench of rotten eggs which follows you no matter where you go, this is due to the sulphur, and although quite unpleasant at times is a result of the geothermal activity in the area which is the base of all the interesting activities that happen in Rotarua. In terms of our experiences, where do we start… we have been to a huge natural waterfall bath named ‘Kerosene Creek’ which is that hot it took Brogan a good 15 minutes to get her knees in, visited Waiotapu thermal wonderland which contained a variety of geothermal wonders (Brogan genuinely walked the entire route pinching her nose as the rotten eggs were intense here).Today we visited Hobbiton where The Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies were filmed, this was genuinely brilliant as it showcased the extensive efforts that underpinned the production! We learnt that the entire set was taken down after the first trilogy and then rebuilt entirely for the hobbit, Peter Jackson also made one poor soul repaint 240,000 artifical tree leaves a different shade of green as he wasnt satisfied with the first attempt! This afternoon we went on a tree top walk through the Redwoods forest, and tomorrow we are booked onto the Black Labyrinth water rafting tour. This 3 hour adventure through the Waitomo Caves will see us stick on a wetsuit and venture down into the natural currents of the caves on tubes where the famous glow worms live! From here we head down to Taupo and are back in the good old hostels which will, I’m sure entail more interesting tales…
Jamie & Brogan