#12 - "rotten" rotorua, rockin waitoma, & relaxing lake taupo
Taupo Travel Blog› entry 12 of 113 › view all entries
*****DAY FIFTEEN (Wednesday, December 17th) - "ROTTEN" ROTORUA*****
Belinda and I took a bus from Hamilton to Rotorua at 10am this morning - we got in around 12:30 or so and the first thing we needed to do was to sort out her car stuff. She needed to do some finalizing of details of what work they were going to do, etc. She really handled the whole thing SO great. It wasn't cheap to do everything she needed to do, but she had a great attitude about it. It was going to be what it was going to be and she had to pay it. So she dealt & then let it go. So great - very impressive.
We checked into our hostel "Cactus Jack Backpackers". Oy vey. It was like we were on a ride at Disneyland! It was SUPER cheesy and there were tons of guys sitting around drinking, smoking, etc. Our room was HILARIOUS. It was called "Madame Fifi's Bordello" - there was a sign right outside & our whole room was painted in pink and had pictures of dancing girls. There was a bunk bed and that was basically ALL that fit in the room! (M - I was thinking that you would have DIED!!! It was definitely NOT a Four Seasons) Anyway, we dropped our stuff off & then went to go check out Rotorua.
Fat Dog Cafe rocked!!! We split two paninis - one was tuna & the other was some pumpkin thing. SO yummy. After that, we walked to the park that was supposed to have all the thermal, bubbling areas.
After that we went back to the hostel and checked e-mail. That was when I got some very sad news. Alice Sternin, the camp director from Che-Na-Wah, where I grew up, had passed away. :( I was SOOO sad and just sat there with tears streaming down my face. It was really hard to hear that news being so far away. She was SUCH an amazing woman and I am soooo lucky that I had a chance to know her.
I have to say, it was really nice to be traveling with someone that I knew for more than one day. Belinda was great listening to me talk about Alice and letting me cry. :(
We went out and got some comforting noodle soup and then called it a night because we had an early day the next day.
Okay, so if you are still with me and have been reading these blogs, tell me that "Flat whites are the BEST!" the next time you write to me! I do love hearing from people! :)
*****DAY SIXTEEN (Thursday, December 18th) - ROCKIN' WAITOMO*****
We got our bus today at 7am and headed off to Waitomo! We were so excited - we actually figured out how to get to Waitomo & then to Taupo in the same day.
Anyway - so we were driven out to Waitomo Rap, Raft & Rock Adventures. We chose this one because we could get a chance to abseil, to do some black water rafting, some rock climbing and that we'd get to see the glow worms in the caves! There were six of us in our group, plus our guide Paul. It was hilarious the outfits they put you into. We had to wear wet suits, with our caribiner gear stuff, and then these sweatpant things over the wetsuit and then gum boots! I was looking hot. :)
It was such an amazing experience! It started with a 27m (90 feet-ish, right?) abseil. I had never done that before and I was definitely a bit nervous. I have some pictures of the experience that you'll get to see here.
Definitely a very cool adventure. Oh- and at the end, they gave us the most delicious chicken soup. (okay, it wasn't that great - but it sure tasted delicious after all that rap, raft & rocking) I would highly recommend doing this.
The rest of the afternoon was total BRIAZZ.
Everyone on the bus to Taupo was defintiely sleepy. I dozed in and out several times on my way over there....but I woke up JUST in time to see the lake in the distance. I was SO excited to get to Taupo. The lake and the mountains make me so happy. I also realize that these mountains are small in comparison to what I'll see on the South Island - but I am totally loving the scenery changes.
We arrived at the Tiki Lodge and were SOOOO happy.
And then, to top it off, we had the BEST dinner. We went to Pimento. OMG. SOOOOO good. We split (you know how much I love splitting & I love that Belinda likes to do it too & that we have similar tastes!) a delicious fresh fish dish and then this warm roasted vegetable w/quinoa dish. The veggies were beetroot, kumra (sweet potato), potatos, tomatos,....seriously every single bite was such goodness.
On our walk home, I had remembered that Dan Gerson told me to go to a bar called On Tap & to ask for J.J. So, on our walk home, I saw On Tap & went right in and of course asked for him.
I could tell we were going to have a great time in Taupo. There's just such a great feeling about this town. It's very open, spacious, clean, and just feels very positive. SO happy to be here!
*****DAY SEVENTEEN (Friday, December 19th) - RELAXING LAKE TAUPO*****
I actually didn't have the greatest sleep last night for some reason.
On my run, I was thinking that I really needed a day by myself. I was a bit out of it & I wanted to just go at my own pace, do my own thing, and not have to talk if I didn't want to talk. It was very interesting because when I got back into the room, Belinda said that she thought she wanted some time by herself today too. PERFECT. We were definitely on the same wavelength.
So, she headed out and I stayed in the room, just getting my act together.
Anyway, I did end up making it out there, but then I honestly didn't know how I was going to get back! The idea of walking back an hour & a half in those flip flops & the skirt did not sound like the most fun. So, my plan was then to go to the Huka Lodge and call a cab. :) Then - it was so strange - I saw this guy taking pictures and I could have sworn I saw him in town earlier in the day in his car. He looked like a nice guy, so I decided I would talk to him and if he seemed nice & normal, I would ask him for a ride.
So, Lavi (that's his name) drove me back to the Tiki Lodge & he was on his way to Rotorua.
Belinda had gone to the grocery store to pick up food to make - which was so nice! She made us some pasta with zucchini, eggplant & sundried tomato pesto. I bought a bottle of savvie from Hawke's Bay & we just hung at the hostel. We met a bunch of really nice people that night...Dick & Chris from Holland (who I will now meet up with again down in Wellington & I am going to take the ferry over to Picton with them as well!), Maria (from Austria) and Angie (from Wisconsin!).
So, I'm almost caught up! I just have to write about Saturday the 20th (which is actually the day I'm writing this!), but I'm about to be kicked out of the Internet cafe. It ended up POURING today, so this was a fun way to spend the day! I'll write more about today later.
I hope everyone is doing great!!!! It's been so much fun to write about my travels...I hope I'm not boring you to tears. :) Hee hee. A HUGE MWWWWAAAAHHH to everyone!
*****DAY EIGHTEEN (Saturday, December 20th) - RAINY LAKE TAUPO*****
I started the day with my GREAT run along Lake Taupo! I love running along the lake - it's been such a great way to start each day.
I came back to the hostel & hung out with Chris, Dick and Angie. Angie showed us her sky-diving video. I have to admit, it looks like a lot of fun! We'll see if I end up doing it...maybe in Queenstown.
So, I really just had a very mellow day. We went shopping & I ended up making my first clothing purchase!! An awesome purple-ish fleece zip up hoody from Kathmandu! I was SO excited. :) I think it's going to be a good addition to my wardrobe.
Then, I went to the Internet Cafe to catch up on my blog and it started to POUR!!!! CRAZY rain! So I just sat inside most of the day on the computer - it was actually a lot of fun! Writing the blog is a great way of 1) sharing what I'm doing, 2) reliving it myself and 3) making sure I have it all recorded so I can read back over it again & again & continue to relive it when I'm done with this amazing journey.
Dinner this evening was so awesome! Belinda's friends (Jean Paul and Bernard) came over and made us dinner - it was this yummy potato, lamb stew thingy!!! They were so sweet to bring their food & cook for us. We also tried some yummy Taupo wines.
Such a nice, cozy day!
*****DAY NINETEEN (Sunday, December 21st) - "BIKING" IN LAKE TAUPO******
I got up and did my morning run again! Woo hoo! So fun. :) Then, I wanted to make brekkie so I went to the Pak 'n Save & got food for me & Belinda. I ended up making a yummy egg scramble with broccoli, spinach, & onions! And we had a fruit salad. It was delicious, if I don't say so myself! :)
After "breakfast" (it was actually more like a pretty late brunch by the time it was all said & done) we were all excited to go biking.
So, instead - we headed down towards the lake and just hung out on the grass in the sun. It turned out to be such a nice, relaxing wonderful day! :)
For dinner, we ended up doing a group dinner that to be honest, ended up being more hassle than it was worth. It was just interesting to coordinate a group of people that don't know each other that well. "What do you want?"...."I don't know, what do you want?"..."I don't eat this..."...."well, I don't eat that".. AH! If I had to do it all over again, I think I would have just gotten a hamburger and that would have been the end of it! In the end, we made a yummy dinner of rice, veggies and chicken - and we had enough food for an army! (It turned out to be a good thing because we ate it the next night after the Tongariro Crossing).