NZ - RotoruaMay 22, 2016 in New Zealand
Well we took Jucy Dave out for his first journey, 3 and a half hours down to Rotorua. Im happy to say that driving in NZ is easy, maybe even easier than driving in England. And driving Jucy Dave is a dream, very easy!! So we found our first campsite. Unfortunately we got there a bit too late at night, it was dark and the ranger had already left for the day. So we pulled up at a random patch of grass and hoped for the best. Unfortunately we couldn't find a toilet anywhere so.... dignity has been lost! We had our first night of cooking noodles out of the back of the camper van and pulled the back out into a double bed. Which is more comfortable that you'd think. when we woke up the next morning it turned out in the clear light of day, that the toilets were 10 metres behind us 😣, good to know for the future though. Turns out we picked a beautiful campsite situated next to a beautiful lake in one direction, and a large beautiful volcano the other. We took a drive into Rotorua to visit one of New Zealand's infamous i-sites to get some local info, then had a walk around the town. It's a nice town but due to the closeness of the geysers it has a certain odour to it. The weather took a turn in the evening and we managed to survive the night surrounded by trees, sheltered in our car, with 80 mile/hr winds...it took a while to cook our noodles on the gas stove outside!!
We drove out to Tarawera and took a hike around the lake. It surpassed all of our expectations. Anyone that enjoys hiking needs to come to New Zealand! The walk started like a normal walk around Derbyshire and then all of a sudden turned into a rain forest. One minute you would see rolling green hills of trees that went on for miles, then you would look down and see the beautiful vast lake, walk a bit further and you were walking through a jungle surrounded by palm trees walking down steps made of moss. I also had the crap scared out of me when we came across a wallaby. We walked for 2 and a half hours down to the lake, and sat and ate our picnic in the beautiful sunshine. However, towards the end of our lunch the sky darkened, so we started to walk back. Not soon enough, it absolutely poured it down. We were soaked. The walk back coincidentally was much quicker. I'm glad we did the first half of the walk in the sun because it highlighted the true beauty of the walk and surroundings. By the time we got back to the car we realised that getting dry was not going to be easy. There was no where for us to get dry or to dry our clothes. So, it was a very slow drive back to the campsite with the heating on full blast, and a detour at a McDonalds café to have a brew to warm up. By the way, McDonalds in New Zealand, so much nicer. You get your tea in a teapot with a cup and saucer, and you can buy pies!! We were knackered after the walk so we had our noodles, watched 3 episodes of lost (the first season came with the van) and it was an early night for us.
Today we went to visit Te Puia, which featured the Pohutu Geyser, Mãori cultural performances, kiwi birds, boiling mud pools, carving and textile schools. This geyser was much different to the one we saw in Iceland, when we got there it had been erupting for 2 hours (we checked, it was all natural, no soap suds added). We saw the 2 kiwi birds that they are trying to breed in captivity, it's no wonder they are nearly extinct, they're massive and can't fly. The best part of the day was watching the Mãori performances. They were really good to watch. I can see why they used the dances to intimidate their enemies. On a slightly racist note I wish they would intimidate the Chinese. Chinese tourists are so rude!!!! They push in all the cues, take 50 of the same photo and don't let anyone else in, and are constantly spitting phlegm into public sinks!!! Note: my racism is only directed to the Chinese tourists...not the Chinese as a whole.
On that note, we are off to Taupo, to see the lake and spend the night in a cheap motel so we can have a shower... it's been a while!Read more