We left Paihia and made our way through Auckland to our next stop: Hot Water Beach.
We took a short walk before reaching our lodge stay in Hot Water beach to see Cathedral Cove; which is where scenes from The Chronicles of Narnia and the pop song ‘can’t hold us’ by Macklemore were filmed.
We reached our lodge and were advised that two hours either side of low tide you can go to the beach and dig yourself a hot pool!
Unfortunately we had just missed this time when we reached hot water beach; and the next time it would be low tide was at midnight!
Now, you can’t go to hot water beach and not dig yourself a hot pool on the beach…
So that’s what we did!
We hit the beach at half 11 and could see the hot water bubbling under the sand. All we needed was a shovel and a man (check) to dig a hot spa to bathe in!
As the weather outside at midnight was freezing we only paddled but other travellers in our group went full on swimming in their bikinis and trunks!
The water was mostly a lovely hot bath temperature but in some areas the water was boiling hot; giving ‘running along the beach’ a whole new meaning.
We stopped along to way to do the Karangahake hike. The hike is famous for its mining and railway history. We saw abandoned train tracks along the way and walked through an old mining tunnel that seemed to go on forever.
There was one thing I really wanted to do in Waitomo and that was to view the glow worm caves.
We took a tour around the Ruakuri cave. This cave is thought of as sacred by the New Zealand Maori people and there are many myths and legends that are associated with the cave itself.
One story we were told on our tour was that a certain part of the cave was used to store the dead, which is why many Maori people treat the cave as sacred as their ancestors are said to be buried there.
We were told many creepy tales along our tour and each time the tour guide would tell a tale he would turn all the lights off so we were in complete darkness inside the cave! Not fun… Especially for a scaredy cat like me!
The glow worms themselves were pretty cool! (As I expected *nerd face*)
It was like looking up at the stars in the night sky; albeit with a slightly blue tinge.
Unfortunately I couldn’t get any pictures of the glow worms (my iPhone camera doesn’t stretch to that technical level) but I did manage to take some inside the cave as we went along.
Are you ready to be super jealous?
Ryan and I left Waitomo to go to Rotorua..
And on the way we visited..
Now I have a confession to make; I’ve not actually seen ANY of the Lord of the Rings films.
I know – shame on me – but visiting Hobbiton was on my list of things I definitely wanted to do whilst travelling this beautiful place! And I promise I’ll watch them at some point when I have time.
Rotorua has masses of geothermal activity and the sulphur leaves a horrid rotten egg smell!
The smell is the only bad thing I have to say about the town. Everything else was great, I had the BEST time in Rotorua, one of my favourite places in New Zealand that we have visited so far.
Yes the geothermal activity smells but it also forms beautiful geysers and boiling hot pools around the town.
A short walk away from our hostel was Kurai park which you are free to roam around as you please!
I loved that there was steam everywhere; it felt like being inside a cloud!
We also took a trip to Te Puia Thermal Reserve to see even more geothermal activity.
We saw a geyser erupt, sat on stone seats heated from the earth and even ate boiled eggs cooked from one of the hot pools!
One of the best nights in Rotorua was when we visited the Tamaki Maori village for an overnight stay.
This was a chance for us to learn about the Maori culture and stuff our faces with glorious food!
As we were entering into a Maori village we needed to adhere to their culture, so, as a group, we had to chose a ‘chief’ based on the males best Haka face.
In the initial meeting at the village the Maori chief and tribe welcomed us to their home and sang us a traditional song which we had to reciprocate. We chose a song most of us knew which was Amy Winehouse – Valerie.
Let’s just say Simon Cowell won’t be knocking on our doors anytime soon but we gave it a good go nonetheless.
We ended the meeting with the traditional rubbing of the noses by the two chiefs and then went on to have tea and cake in the big hall.
After stuffing our faces we visited different parts of the village to learn more about the Maori culture.
We played a game with sticks where we all stood in one big circle and each had a long stick, the Maori chief would say maui (pronounced ma-wee) or matau (pronounced ma-toe) which is left and right in the Maori language, we would then have to leave our stick upright and run to the left or right and grab the stick there. If you go the wrong way or drop a stick then you’re out!
It was really fun; I felt like a big kid!
We also learnt how to pronounce our vowels like the Maori people by singing a song called ”A Haka Mana’ which is in the tune of Stupid Cupid and I have been struggling to get out of my head ever since!
The Maori people put on a cultural performance before our dinner which consisted of singing, Ti Rakau (rhythmic throwing of sticks) and Poi which is a performance using balls on strings. And of course the famous Hakka dance!
After this it was our turn to do a performance of our own as we were asked to perform the ‘A Haka Mana’ song in front of the dinner guests (I hid at the back) and the men were all asked to perform the Hakka, including Ryan!
We had an all-you-can-eat roast dinner at the Tamaki village that was cooked by the heat from the Earth; the food was prepared, put into caged baskets and placed in a hole in the ground for around 4 hours. We had chicken, lamb and all the trimmings! Delicious!
I was sad to leave Tamaki village – it was the best experience!
The rest of our time in Rotorua was spent roaming the town and zorbing down a hill!
We left Rotorua and made our way to Taupo, pronounced Toe-paw.
We didn’t really do much in Taupo, the weather wasn’t too great and I guess it gave us a chance to save a bit of money!
We did look around the shops and we saw the new All Blacks Rugby kits on sale – now I’m not a lover of sports but I REALLY liked the look of the All Blacks tops! I was ever so tempted to pick up my two younger brothers a shirt each but after looking at the price that thought quickly fizzled away!
We are no longer in Taupo and have moved on to our next stop in New New Zealand.
Find out where on my next post!
‘Till next time!
Love Bumble x