This was truly a flying visit to New Zealand to see 2010 out. We had about a week for the North Island. So we spent a few days at the Bay of Islands before heading a little further south. It was a long drive from the Bay of Islands down to Rotorua. And as we passed the sign that welcomed us to Rotorua, a question was raised in the car, “Who farted?!” There was a quick succession of denials from the other three passengers. So it was true, the sulphur smell was potent, potent enough to seep through the air vents of the car. But before long, we had adjusted and could barely smell a thing – possibly the occasional boiled egg smell.
The hotel that we stayed at was right by the thermal village and we had views of the thermal activity from our rooms. The hotel hosted a Maori Culture Show and a Hangi buffet! The show was fantastic and there was also an opportunity to learn the Haka.
Having witnessed many Sydney Harbour New Year’s Eve celebration, we were going to welcome 2011 in a different city in a different country! The celebrations were much less crowded (thank goodness) by Lake Rotorua with a lovely sunset as the backdrop, musicians were on stage and the stalls were abuzz. Happy 2011 – to another year of travelling!!
Day one for the year and we visited Wai-o-tapu which was pretty amazing. It reminded us a lot of Yellowstone but warmer. Artist’s Palette was magnificent with all of it colours and Lady Knox geyser spat on demand… actually with a little help from some soap powder.
An unexpected highlight around the area was when we visited the Redwoods – trees so tall and thin.
Before heading home though, we paid a visit to the Waitomo Caves to see the glow worms. During the tour, our guide explained how he was underground during that devastating Christchurch earthquake and he heard the rumble like a subway. Very eerie and a little spooky but glow worms, stalagmites and stalagtites, awesome all the same!
Definitely will have to come back for the South Island – another to the bucket list!