- Part 5 New Zealand: Sails, Cows, Kiwis, Hobbits
- Part 4 Finding the Heart of Fiji
- Part 3 Fiji: Taveuni Reefs and Waterfalls
- Part 2 Fiji: first week in paradise
- Part 1 Getting ready to be gone
After saying goodbye to Hobbits and Hobbiton, we awoke bleary-eyed but well-rested amidst a plantation of Feijoa, a somewhat exotic fruit somewhere between a gooseberry and a kiwi. I wonder if the Hobbits knew of this delicious food source so close to their home? Unfortunately it turned out they weren’t quite ready to pick / taste fresh so our only sampling was in jam. We had been staying at an AirBnb on Frans and Tineke’s farm on the outskirts of Matamata, well-placed for Middle Earth and a convenient stepping stone to our next destination: Rotorua.
First impressions of Rotorua were not entirely positive as a) we were hungry b) the obnoxious and virtually inescapable odor of methane makes much of Rotorua smell of slurry c) the city is something of a cross between Blackpool, Las Vegas and Slough. A more charitable assessment (post-eating) could be “touristy”. Okay so when in Rome make like a tourist: time for some white-water rafting.
Saying goodbye to Rotorua, it was off to stay at Lake Taupo. As is our way, we decided to stop off at a crafty glass blowing studio called Lava Glass Studio. Some extremely nice pieces on display in the gallery as well as a live narrated demo of how they are made. However, the lacklustre garden made us appreciate the genius of Chihuly’s Garden in Seattle and the Glass Museum in Tacoma.
Our digs for the night at Taupo was an amazing tent complete with a carpeted floor on a platform base, and a full-on bed. This was our first attempt at “glamping” and I’m not sure we embraced the whole experience as we hi-jacked power from elsewhere to charge our various electronic devices overnight. As with all camping, you can’t predict the weather....
Taupo was a lot nicer than Rotorua, an opinion not at all colored by the excellent Indian restaurant we visited, honest. As an aside, locals can’t seem to agree on the correct pronunciation of Taupo.. some pronounce it as written and others pronounce it toe-paw. Both camps swear blind theirs is the correct pronunciation and the other way is what tourists say. An unofficial survey suggests that the Taupo’s have it so that’s what we’re sticking with.
It was a nice change to be in a city again and we really warmed to Wellington, more so than Auckland. We did lots of city things: rode the cable car, shopped, visited the barber’s, drank some fine coffee, etc.