The Last LegMarch 17, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C
It's time to say hei kona ra to this wonderful country. But I promise we will be back.
We got up very early in the morning to do the tour around the hobbit & the lord of the rings movie set. It was spectacular! We learnt lots on how the movies were made. I would definitely recommend this.
We drove back Auckland and had a look around the city centre, as we were finished in the city we got lost trying to find the entrance to the underground car park where we parked the car for 10 minutes but we found it in the end.
Erin XORead more
The weather gods were kind to us today and blessed us with gorgeous weather. We made the most of the Sunshine and headed outside.
First up, Hamilton Gardens; a little kitsch in parts but beautifully maintained and an amazing variety of plants. As far as we can tell the gardens are mostly maintained by the students at the attached horticultural school. Props for the free labour, because you can see the sheer mountain of effort that is put into maintaining these grounds. The rose garden was stunning with an enormous variety of (you guessed it) roses. I particularly liked this speckled variety as it wasso different to any rose I'd seen before.
The afternoon was a walk up Te Aroha, I confess I knew very little about this walk other than it was about 10km long, offered 360 degree views and was considered one of the better walks in New Zealand according to an online walking guide. I wasn't expecting a thin track that had clearly suffered though last weeks storms. The climb was arduous in parts having to climb up rocks and exposed roots, combine that with a constant steep incline for two hours and I was pooped by the time I got to the top. By the way I looked it up, the incline was 952m. The view I was afforded was stunning and included views of the Bay of Plenty, Firth of Thames, back towards Hamilton and Kaimai-Mamaku range.
While I was exploring Erin had enjoyed a nap. We both now feeling refreshed enjoyed a nice pub meal to finish the day.
Lysa XORead more
One of New Zealand's great walks, just appallingly signposted.
This walk was hard to find. There are signposts on where to park but not to the start of the track which is a casual 500m away. However, I got there in the end and started out on the track. It got steep fast, and I spent the next two hours dragging myself up hill, including climbing up tree roots and boulders well over a metre high. This was not a track for the faint hearted. But determine as ever. I made it to the top, I even discovered a cave but was too chicken to explore it.
Finally I reached the summit and don't the pictures speak for themselves. Breathtaking and worth all the effort it took to get up there.Read more
In the 1960s this site was nothing more than a rubbish dump, today it is over 40 hectares of public gardens. In the 1980s the city designed these gardens to tell the story of garden design from a cultural and historical point of view.
There are hundreds more photos we took... I can only add six photos. So you miss out on the rose garden and the general amazing variety of flora.Read more
We got up early to visit Wai-O-Tapu, a nearby geothermal area. Wai-O-Tapu has lots of colourful rocks, from the steam bringing up minerals from deep underground.
Wai-O-Tapu also has a geyser, which was discovered by convicts a along time ago. The geyser was initially steaming, then it started to frothing and finally it erupted. When the geyser erupted it shot water 10 metres into the air.
Wai-O-Tapu is a massive park area, next we went to a mud pool. The mud was popping and bubbling. It smelt like rotten eggs. It was interesting watching the mud splash and pop.
Next we went and visited some local free hot springs. At the first one the water was very hot, I could feel my ankles burning. Lysa said she burnt her foot in the mud too. The second one's water was a bit cooler and had a pretty waterfall.
We finished the day with a tour of Waitomo Caves. They have been doing tours in these caves for over a 120 years. The tour had a boat ride in an underground cave where you got to see lots of glow worms.
Erin XORead more
Our host gave us some great tips on where to go find free hot springs. First up we visited Hot n' Cold River. This spot gets its name because it's where a cold river and a hot river meet. The cool thing about this spot was the temperature of the water varied greatly depending on where you stood. The second local gem, Kerosene Creek which had a hot spring complete with a waterfall.
Well worth a visit.Read more