Posts Tagged ‘Rotorua’

Day 7: Rainy Day Tuesday

April 16, 2010 3 comments

Tuesday, 06 April, 2010:

A stay in a hostel is exactly what I need.  After 5 days of sleeping in the car, my body’s starting to feel it.  I can’t figure out how to lay the back seats down (or, moreso, I’m too lazy), so my feet are a bit cramped and just at odd angles.  Tonight, though, I’ve booked a stay at the YHA hostel in Taupo.

Before I get into that, I want to go through the rest of the day.  Last night I ended up watching Seven Pounds (which I finished at 3 am when I kept waking up).  That is probably the saddest movie I have ever seen, though incredibly well put together.  I won’t give it away, but I was quite impressed, especially since I heard only mediocre thoughts on it.

I woke up to find an older woman peering in my windshield.  I was a little freaked out until I realized she was just trying to read the numbers on my camping tag.  Still, a weird way to wake up.

Heading out from the camp, I was driving down the road when I noticed two cars stopped up ahead.  As I pulled up, I was attacked by a herd of sheep.  I guess they escaped from the pen as they were being moved across the street.  Eventually I had to turn around and find another way around.

Sheep Stampede

Went into Rotorua today looking for Internet.  I got online for a bit and checked my 38 emails and out out that my credit card is still being annoying.  I’ll have to give them a hard time about it when I get back.

Huka Rapids

Rotorua has pianos strewn throughout the city that are free and open to whoever wants to play them.  They’re part of Pianos in the Wild, which I think is an awesome idea.  When I’m rich, that will be one of my projects to better the world.  IT felt great to play again, though I was a little disappointed with how much I’ve forgotten.

It started to pour down rain, which made the day quite dreary.  In fact, I only ended up with three pictures for this day.  The trip around Lake Rotorua didn’t amount to much.  There’s wasn’t much after you left the city.  It ended up being a lazy day, driving slowly through the rain and stopping a lot.  Still, I couldn’t’ do much, so I hung out in the car, watched Friends, and talked to parents/Kat.

Food was a highlight of today.  Stopped at the grocery store and picked up lunchmeat for a sandwich.  Some of the best salami I’ve had, but also “chicken roll,” which is NOT normal chicken, as the woman behind the counter had told me.  Also for dinner, I had chicken pasta with onion, garlic, ginger, broccoli, and brie.  Quite tasty, especially the brie.

I’m a bit annoyed at how touristy and tacky the Rotorua/Taupo area is.  It seems that everything has a price tag on it.  I drove 10 km to an “historic volcanic valley” only to find that the 1-hour hike cost $36.  Even the bathrooms at Huka Falls were pay (though luckily the waterfall itself was free).

Huka Falls

It’s nice being in a hostel.  I had some nice conversation with two English couples and one Dutch couple.  We talked a lot about New Zealand and travel (where I was scoffed at for not knowing what The Lonely Planet is).  We talked about the prices of food and clothing between countries.  Apparenlty, TJ Max is called TK Max in England, though they can’t really say why.  Talking was really great, and I wish I had the money to stay in hostels through the whole trip.  You meet some real interesting people.

A long, hot shower felt sooooo great.

Full Set: North Island Trip


Day 6: Tauranga and Rotorua

April 15, 2010 1 comment

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.


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!


Full Set: North Island Trip