So we were safely in Rotorua, exhausted from a crazy day and had plans to get up early in the morning, meet up with Al and Natalia and go zorbing! But we were both starving and hadn’t seen downtown Rotorua yet, so set off in the dark (it was dark by the time we settled and put up our tent for the first time in almost a month) to find a place to eat. The campsite we stayed at behind the Backyard Inn was a great spot (thanks Luke!) with its own kitchen, lounge area and hot pool, but it was full of teenagers on a school trip so we headed into the town and found a delicious Indian place. Except for the dining street, Rotorua itself was deserted for a Friday night. It was also freezing cold so we huddled together on the walk home and promptly fell into a deep, deep sleep.
The weekend before, we had driven with Al and Nati into Rotorua to check out the Maori Living Village and see a cultural performance there. Christian didn’t write much about it, but it was an amazing spot and our first Maori experience (which has definitely been one of the highlights of the trip for me for sure). I have wanted to see a real-life Haka since my mum would tell me about them as a little kid, and I was not disappointed. Here is a little excerpt from the performance (I was too enthralled to film the haka itself- sorry!) for you to check out, and if you ever get a chance to see a performance like this in real life, you absolutely must.
Rotorua is full of tourist hot spots and extreme sport opportunities, but a lot of it is expensive, so we had decided to pick one really special thing to do together and that was: ZORBING!! Again, a lifelong dream of mine to do. For those of you who have never heard of zorbing, you pretty much seal yourself off in a giant hamster ball with some water inside and get thrown down a hill. Sound fun? Well, we thought so!
We also checked out the two beautiful lakes with very imaginative names: Blue Lake and Green Lake. The viewpoint was great and you can definitely see why the lakes are named as such.
On our visit last weekend to Rotorua, we had also discovered a sensational fish and chip shop that we just had to return to again. Christian had loved it so much that he put up a review for it on Google, and we had a particularly funny moment where we had ordered and received our meal, and the lovely owner Sue is standing behind the counter on her phone, looks up at Christian and proclaims, “It’s you!” Needless to say she was happy about our positive feedback and appreciated Christian’s efforts.
We spent the remainder of our day in Rotorua in a theatre watching “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” which we all enjoyed thoroughly. It was such a luxury sitting in a theatre and being swept away into another world, and because the day was overcast and cold by this point, we didn’t miss out on anything in the real world.
Al and Nati had to get back to the Mount so dropped us off at our camping site and it was pretty sad to see them go, but they are going to come down and visit us in Havelock North at one of the farms we will be Wwoofing at, so not to despair. Christian and I headed to the thermal park and gardens behind where we were staying called Kuirau Park. Rotorua is a mass of thermal hot spots steaming and smelling very sulphuric, and this park was no exception.
Musician, teacher, traveller. Currently on a year-long journey around the world. Bronwyn is one of the founders of onlyamazingdays.com.