Wednesday, 6 January 2016

NZ: Rotorua

I eventually arrived in Rotorua after a 2 hour delay (apparently the bus had caught fire en route, good excuse as any!)  and checked into the hostel. As there was no one about I went for a wander, tried (and failed) to find 2 geocaches, and ended up by Lake Rotorua - which is very pretty, and a bit bubbly at times.  It's a gorgeous colour, ranging from aquamarine to sandy yellow, and is frequented by black swans!   I got bit a lot by sandflies so went to the shops to buy my dinner and joined in with the hostel poker night in an attempt to meet people.  My attempt at socialising paid off as I met a fellow Brit, Denis, and he kindly offered to take me to Wai O Tapo the following day.

Lake Rotorua

Lake Rotorua

Lake Rotorua

Black swans on the lake

I conquered the dorm room bunk beds - all others were taken and I had to have the top bunk which had no rail and I was petrified of falling out, but I survived!! (I may have had a practice run at climbing up to my bed when no one else was there!!).  Apparently I sleep talk though and I said 'prat, prat, prat' then made supping noises in the middle of the night.  The next day Denis and I headed out to the geothermals.  It costs $32.50 and was pretty cool for a morning's worth of entertainment, we got there at 8.30am to beat the crowds and I am really glad we did - we mostly had the place to ourselves but when we left at 10.30am there was so much traffic trying to get in to the park.

There's a 3km walk around the park and it's really fascinating, with mud pools bubbling away next to you and lakes with bright yellow and green and orange water.  We went to see the geyser but I was a bit disappointed with this as they have to use a package of soap to make it erupt rather than it being a natural eruption.

Bubbling mud pools

exploding mud

Steaming mud pool

the champagne lake

A sulphur cave

Lady Knox Geyser

As Denis was heading down to Taupo to do a skydive, I did my first spot of hitchhiking to get back to Rotorua.  I am not sure of hitchhiking etiquette but I made a little sign and after about 10 mins of sympathetic faces as people drove past, 2 guys tooted and stopped and said they'd give me a lift.  I was slightly unsure, being a small female and they were 2 huge guys, but I didn't want to be rude and say 'no sorry you look like you might murder me' so I hopped in (politeness over British). When I got in they made a joke about hoping I wasn't an axe murderer so I made the same joke back and laughed nervously and when they weren't looking, ripped off a bit of cardboard from my sign, rubbed my fingers over it to deposit DNA and hid it in their car to incriminate them if anything did happen. Haha.

Anyway it turned out OK and they were really friendly, one lived in Singapore and the other Taiwan so we chatted about both countries and they dropped me off in central Rotorua, saving me another $15. Sweet!

I spent the rest of the afternoon in Kuirau Park, which is basically a big patch of grass (as most parks are) but with cordoned off mud pools and hot steamy bits, it is free so if you don't fancy paying the money to get into the expensive (but amazing) parks you can experience your own bit of geothermal activity here.  I lazed in the sun, found a geocache (it makes mum happy!) and lazed in the sun some more.  I got a text from Denis to see if I wanted to go to a Maori experience that night, so I said yes and started to gather my bits from the grass. As I was doing so a topless man walked up to me, lay down beside me and asked if we could talk.  Bit weird! I politely declined and packed my things up a bit quicker!

The Mitai Maori Experience was random but good.  I only did it as I had no other plans, but I am glad I did because the most amazing thing ever happened to me but I will get to that bit later to keep you reading, haha! Oh the suspense!  I saved Denis some money as he had booked directly with Mitai but you get a discount if you pay at the hostel, so I arranged this and then we headed off.  The host of the evening, John, was HILARIOUS and made the evening highly amusing.  We saw our food being cooked over hot rocks made hot by geothermal activity, then saw a demonstration of Maori warriors in a boat, then saw some re-enactments - the singing and dancing was incredible. This is a bit rude but all I could think of was Maori men must make great lovers as their tongues are amazing and wiggle very quickly.

We then returned to the marquee where we ate our dinner of chicken, lamb, stuffing, sweet potatoes, normal potatoes, potato dauphinoise (lots of potatoes) and salad and it was all delicious! And served as a buffet!!!! Denis went up twice but for some reason I was feeling stuffed so only had one serving. There was also pudding of steamed ginger cake (YUM!) chocolate log and pavlova. An odd mix.

We then did a mini bush walk and saw some glow worms (not that many but still pretty cool) and here the best moment of my life happened....

There was a cat....
And it was really friendly and kept following us....
And I stroked it and it jumped on to me.....

Seriously I was so happy. If there was anything to cement my reputation as crazy cat lady this would be it.

On day 3 of Rotorua, I was exceptionally lazy and stayed in bed until 9.30, then got the bus to Redwood Forest, which is exactly what it says on the tin....a forest of imported Californian Redwoods.  It's pretty cool and I did a 11.5k hike which was very pretty.  I also saw a guy fall off his mountain bike and hang on to a bunch of plants for dear life to save himself from tumbling down into a little stream.  When I asked if he was OK he said he was having a little rest. Haha.

I spent the evening playing card games with some of the other hostel people, and today has been mainly life admin before getting my bus to Taupo. 


  1. It all looks amazing, Nains! Glad to hear you're having a good time! -x-

  2. It looks like you're making the most out of your new boots, were they the best choice in the end or was James annoyingly right?

    The other pressing question about this post is how you managed to get the picture of yourself from inside the car. I can imagine you passing your expensive camera through the window to some randoms. Whichever way its a very good photo but very suspiciously taken.

    1. I think I've made the best choice!!! Just did the tongariro crossing in them and they were excellent :) so nurr nurr to James. Maybe I should tell him...

      A haha! I was wondering when someone would pick up on that. My friend Denis took it as he passed me :)


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