KIWI THROWBACK PART 2 // Rotorua & Auckland, New Zealand

 

Here are a few more remaining snaps of our trip to New Zealand in 2013. I am still pinching myself that this was so long ago, or so it feels!

After getting back to Auckland we caught a bus through the countryside to Rotorua. We traveled through the town near the Lord of the Rings set of Hobbiton. Admittedly, I had desperately wanted to go, but we were on quite a budget and it was ridiculously expensive. So instead I contented myself to admiring to rolling hills of the countryside, which looked exactly like the Shire. I would love to come back one day and check it out though! Maybe a tour of all the film locations in New Zealand is in order?

IMG_1297

IMG_1304

We had been warned that Rotorua stank, and it did. For the first few hours we were slightly overwhelmed, but you quickly got used to it. The smell is reminiscent of rotten eggs, due to the hydrogen sulphide emissions of the regions thermal activity. The steam in air is also oddly eerie.  IMG_1307

IMG_1310

We checked out one the Maori villages in town. The village is built on top of a highly active thermal region, so the town is literally falling away under their feet. In the photo below the area out the front of the hall was cordoned off due to massive holes emerging in the ground.IMG_1312

IMG_1316

It was fascinating learning about how the people of the village lived off the thermal activity, including using it for cooking! This was lunch – hangi – being steamed by the thermal heat.IMG_1320

IMG_1333

IMG_1337The next day – or maybe later the same day, I can’t remember the order of everything! – we headed out for a guided cycling tour. We had picked up the brochure at our hostel, and weren’t really sure what to expect. To our surprise we were the only ones on the tour. It turned out the owner was a young local man, just starting up the business – Happy Ewe Cycle Tours. He was wonderfully entertaining, informative and passionate about the town. IMG_1340Suplur.IMG_1346

IMG_1348The tour lasted a couple of hours, and was pretty chilled out. Rotorua is very flat! We learnt everything from the thermal activity of the region, to the towns history as a spa district. We ended with a foot spa in a local park, Marmite on crackers and the local favourite of L&P soft drink.IMG_1372

IMG_1375

We returned back to Auckland for a day or two, and rounded in our remaining time with the zoo and the museum. I was mildly (okay, extremely) devastated that we couldn’t see a kiwi at the zoo. They were hiding!IMG_1383

IMG_1386

I did, however, get to see stuffed ones at the museum. Still not quite the same though…IMG_1390It was such a fun little trip for our first overseas getaway together! I would love to go back and see more of the country. We only just covered a tiny bit of ground at the top of the North Island!

Looking through travel photos is certainly fostering my sense of wanderlust even more! Chris and I are currently on mid semester break, and had planned to go on a road trip, but it seems unlikely with the amount of study we have to catch up on. We will have to hold out until the winter holidays for another getaway!

– Reanna.

KIWI THROWBACK PART 1 // Auckland & Waiheke Island, New Zealand

I don’t know whether it was procrastination or a legitimate desire, but this evening I felt compelled to track down my photos from a trip Chris and I took to New Zealand back in July 2013. I was under the impression I had maybe 10, or 20 photos. Turns out it was closer to 100, so this throwback post will be spread out over two posts!IMG_1236

IMG_1240

This was my first trip overseas – though New Zealand hardly counts for us Aussies, we get to go through the same passport control as the locals! – so I was all about passport and lame tourist photos. Chris and I had planned this trip largely last minute. We went away for slightly over a week, and were on a major budget. Subsequently, our travels were limited to Auckland, Waiheke Island and Rotorua. However, we still had a great time!IMG_1242

IMG_1245

Auckland itself was quite similar to Melbourne, other than the novelty of Woolies being called Countdown and everyone’s fantastic accents. IMG_1252

IMG_1253

IMG_1257

While in Auckland we kept things pretty chilled out, taking the ferry across the harbor to hike up a hill on the other side, wandering around the docks, and checking out a few backpacker bars (we got sucked in by the guy who came by our hostel every night spruiking about great drink specials).IMG_1261

IMG_1271

We took another ferry out to Waikeke Island, a small island not far off the coast. We had heard about it being revered for it’s wine, so we thought it would be worth checking out. We only stayed one night – there was a lack of cheap accommodation – but managed to squeeze in a lot while we were there.

IMG_1273

IMG_1277

Despite this gloomy looking weather we actually had a great day. We hired a couple of bikes and took ourselves on a self guided tour of some of the local wineries and breweries.IMG_1278

IMG_1279

Oh my god, who are these young people?!IMG_1286

IMG_1293

IMG_1294Despite the masses of hills and my obvious lack of fitness, it was a great way to explore the island. The next day we jumped back on the ferry to Auckland.

I will be back shortly with the rest of the New Zealand photos I rustled up! It is kind of fun reminicsing over times that have passed. Before I know it I am sure Europe will be a far distant memory as well!

– Reanna