25.02.2014 - 28.02.2014
Rotoura is a quaint but eggy town. New Zealand is very sleepy with shops closing no later than 5:30pm and most restaurants closing at 9:30pm. Rotorua feels like a bit of a time warp and it is apparent that internet shopping is yet to ruin local shop keepers business. The town has about 6 video rental stores with fascias from the 80's, a haberdashery come fishing supply store and a costume hire shop. We stayed at Rock Solid backpackers which was, like most places in town, down wind from a sulphur emitting geothermal pool. We stayed in a 4 bed dorm with a strange person who deprived Dan of sleep with his insomniac habits. The guy spent all his time on his laptop letting out quiet creepy laughs or fighting falling asleep with loud gasps at 3am. There was about 40cm room between thier beds and at one point he was asleep, sitting up, fully dressed with headphones on facing Dan at 5am. Dan was a gentleman and let me have the safety of a 5ft high bunk bed at the other end of the room.Whilst in Rotorua we visited Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland. The smelliest day out we've had yet. We saw the Lady Knox geyser erupt and then walked around various geothermal pools including the Champagne Pool.
Dan hunted for walkers in the afternoon as we took a short stroll around the Redwoods forest.
Luckily our time in Rotorua coincided with our friend's from Koh Tao, Fausto and Janelle, so we went to Wingspan Falconry show. Dan convinced them that they needed to try a Nando's so after a few drinks we got another peri peri fix. Lando's has definitely died and it's now all about proper fish and chips when we get home.
We drove to Taupo that evening, the main attraction here is their lake - formed by a volcanic eruption which caused three days global darkness as a result of ash in the atmosphere. (The lake is the same size of Singapore by the way) We went on a date in the morning on a cruise round the lake (with tea and muffins!) which was awesome. We saw Maori carvings only visible from the water, Dan was thinking up new tattoo ideas as we cruised. Afterwards we had a picnic looking over the lake and checked out Huka Falls - the sheer mass of water thundering through here was incredible.
To conclude our north island road trip we drove down to Wellington. Passing Mt Doom and visited Weta Cave. I love to see how things are made especially costumes so we went on the workshop tour and felt okay with our level of LOTR indulgence in NZ compared to some of the super fans on the tour who were asking about specific named swords. To finish the day we went to Te Papa Museum and I spent alot of time at the World of Wearable Art exhibition and Dan spent a lot of time using the free wifi to check the football news.
We're very aware that our trip is coming to an end quickly. I think back and can't believe how much we've been able to see and do. Travelling has proven to be so easy and I've got to the point where I could easily live out of my 50l rucksack forever. We both need to get mentally prepared for the return to England soon. Jobs? Routine? Own bed? What are these things normal' people have! For the first time I actually forgot that its my birthday (next week- presents can be given on my return) Days, time, country's and currency become beautifully insignificant when you have little need of keeping track...The 'real world' is going to be a tough change.