New Zealand is exciting, loud, fun, cold, friendly.
We have been in New Zealand for five days now and so far, we have experienced so much fun.
We arrived in Auckland and met up with some friends that we got to know on Fiji. Henry and Aria had a playdate while we sat around drinking tea and talking about travels. It turns out she stayed in Antibes, France as well about 15 years ago. Small world.
The boys also had a haircut as it was about 12 weeks since the last one.
We got our car 2 days ago and drove to Hahei on the Coramandel Peninsula. We stayed at a hotel called the church and around there they had a hot spring beach. It was freezing cold but all the people there were in swimwear laying in hot puddles that they had dug out.
I didn’t think it was going to be that hot but it really was. The further away from the water you dug the hotter it got, around 60 degrees. But it was only in certain spots. We were not in swimwear but we stood with our feet in the water and it was wonderful. Earlier in the day we went on a boat to spot some whales and dolphins. Unfortunately, we didn’t spot any. But we did see a baby seal and some beautiful caves. It was a great trip but it ended quickly when the rain come over us.
The weather has been pretty good, around 16 degrees and the sun has been out most days. Don’t get me wrong it’s no Fiji or Hawaii but it is nice.
Then we drove on and checked into a hotel in Rotorua. This hotel is excellent. It is a real five star hotel with two bedrooms, a living area and two bathrooms. From this hotel we took the car up to Hobbiton. Stephen has seen and read all the films and books and knows everything about them. I have seen the films but don’t remember much (except Orlando Bloom) But it was still an exciting day. We went there on a quiet time a year, there were still people but not busload after busload. We had a lovely guide that took us around and I really recommend to go there even if you haven’t seen the films or read the books. It is a beautiful place and it is a lovely walk around.
This morning we went and did some canopy walking, it was pretty nice a 500m of walk up in the trees.
In the evening, we went to Tamaki Maori Village Hangi and concert. A bus came and picked us up from our hotel and took us to a village out in the woods. There was a lovely welcome with everyone in the village in traditional clothing and tattoos. They took us around to different areas where they told us about their daily life. They then showed us how they cook food underneath the earth. And while the food was being prepared they had a show for us with the Haka to finish. Amazing.
The food was yummy and the whole evening was special.
On the way home the bus driver went a bit mad and was singing in all kinds of languages and went round and round the roundabouts. Henry thought he was hilarious. He was going to drive around another roundabout but then the police came with their lights on so he didn’t dare. The police weren’t for him but it was just so funny. He had the whole bus in stiches and nobody wanted to get off when it was their stop.