Home > New Zealand > Day 6: Tauranga and Rotorua

Day 6: Tauranga and Rotorua

Monday, 05 April, 2010:

I was right about it being pretty again.

I slept mostly straight through the whole night, awoken in the morning by a bit of sun through my forest of hanging shirts and towels covering my windows.  This whole clock-changing thing is throwing me off.  (Daylight Savings time ended last night for us.)  It was dark by 6:30 pm, giving me all this free time at night to do…nothing.  And then in the morning, I felt weird waking up at 6:30 am to the sun, so I went back to sleep.  Probably should have just woken up.

Tunnel

I was out of my campsite pretty quick this morning.  I almost crashed into another car around a blind bend; the sun was so bright I really was blind for a moment.

I ended up at the Karangahake Gorge with some walking trails.  I went across a bridge with a sign that said “10 people max” towards the Old Railway Tunnel Track, a 3.2 km track that led to a tunnel (now with the railroad tracks removed and a walking path in place).  The tunnel went through the mountain and was 1100 m (nearly 3/4 mile) long, lit only by dim yellow lights every 30 yards or so.  It was really neat, but a bit scary at the same time.

I tried to call Kat during the walk, but ended up getting cut off by the tunnel, so I just talked to her afterwards.  I also called my parents to wish them a Happy Easter (since it was still Easter back in PA), but only had 18 seconds on my calling card.  Needless to say, the conversation was very, very brief.

Took a drive down Route 2, then Route 5 towards Tauranga on the Bay of Plenty.  It’s considered a city, but was really a large town about the size of State College.  Took a quick walk around but didn’t see anything too interesting, just a lot of people enjoying their Easter Monday off.  I grabbed a pizza roll (just a bun with cheese and a bit of ham on top) and bought a $5 pillow from Farmers because my neck has been killing me.

Tauranga Bridge Marina

Pigeon Battle

Railway Bridge

I then headed towards Rotorua, the geothermal (as well as tourist) hotspot of New Zealand.  Even 10 miles out, I could start to smell the sulfur from the volcanic areas.  (That’s the advantage of Rotorua: if you have fart, you can just blame it on the sulfur!)

I saw a few stream geysers on the side of the road but figured I’d hit them tomorrow.  I made my way downtown and walked around the harbor while talking to Kat.  There were black swans and ducks, as well as really strange (and noisy) duck/goose looking things.  Not sure what they’re really called, but they freaked me out.

Black Swans

Got lost trying to leave town, but eventually made it to tonight’s campsite, the Rerewhakaaitu Recreation Reserve on Lake Rerewhakaaitu.  It’s small, with less than 10 camps set up tonight.  It’s nice, though, with clean bathrooms, a cute lake, and a few small walking trails.

Kat told me today that I should check out Matamata, the filming location of Hobbiton in Lord of the Rings.  Unfortunately, I passed it about 1.5 hours back earlier today, and it costs $64 for the tour.  (And you can’t just explore it yourself.)  Sorry Kat!

Instead, I plan on taking a trip around Lake Rotorua and maybe down to Taupo.  I really don’t have much more I want to hit.  Definitely Taupo and Tongariro, and maybe Taranaki (if I have time).  It’s going by fast now!

Sentinel

Full Set: North Island Trip

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  1. Kat
    April 17, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    =)
    Your posts make me happy!
    It looks so amazing there. Ah.

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