Our Kiwi Holiday – Part 2

I had intended to write a more detailed account of our trip but after all the work I’ve been doing lately, I’ll just have to make it brief and simple. Actually, I should’ve aimed for a short retelling regardless.

Note: The thumbnails below are linked to larger versions of the photos on our Flickr.com account. To see more of our New Zealand photos, click here instead.

Now, continuing from the previous installment of this story, the next day turned out to be a much better day. We were able to book another hotel to stay in Auckland when we get back from Rotorua and New Plymouth during the final leg of our trip. Also, we went to the car rental shop where we booked our car and we got a Toyota Corolla hatchback which is almost identical to the car I drive here in Melbourne.

With the car already on hand, we left for Rotorua earlier than originally planned. The plan was that we would drive all the way to Rotorua from Auckland stopping only for toilet breaks. Fortunately for us though, the lady at the rental car shop recommended we take a side route that passed Matamata instead of the main route.

Matamata was worth the detour, too, because it’s the town nearest the farm where they built the Hobbiton set used in the Lord of the Rings movies. Even though all that was left of the set was some of the houses’ understructure, it was great to set foot on the actual Hobbiton hills.

On the drive to Rotorua, we often consulted the free maps we had just to be sure we don’t make any wrong turns. We had to laugh at some of the place names we’ve read though because they sounded awfully like naughty Tagalog pharases. For example: Te Teko sounded like “My Penis” and Pukekohe sounded like “My Vagina, ok?”

Anyway, we managed to stay on course and arrived in Rotorua safely. Our first impression of the place was that it stinked and not because it was a dirty place. Rotorua is surrounded by boiling mud pools and the smell of sulphur often fills the air. So, during our four day stay at Rotorua, we had to endure the smell of rotten eggs every now and then.

Still, it was a pretty, wonderful and peaceful place. I only had to keep telling myself that we were safe and that the whole town wouldn’t just turn into a volcano and blow up.

Since, we watch a lot of the reality TV show The Amazing Race, every road trip and visit to an attraction that seemed like an in-game Detour or Roadblock, made us feel like we were a couple in the show competing against non-existant couples in a race. And because we watch the show, we made it a point to visit the places in New Zealand that were featured in the show like the Zorb or the Waitomo caves (though we didn’t abseil/rappel down). And although the Skyrides luge track wasn’t featured in the show, we thoroughly enjoyed it.

We visited other places around town but I wouldn’t bore you with anymore details. Suffice it to say, we enjoyed the Zorb, the Waitomo Caves visit and the luge rides at the Skyrides track by time we left Rotorua.

After Rotorua, we drove down to New Plymouth to see Mt Taranaki which was supposed to be the “stand-in” for Mount Fuji in the Last Samurai movie starring Tom Cruise. As you can tell, we’ve been concentrating on the sites that were featured either in movies or in TV shows. I’m such a couch potato.

I’ll continue and hopefully conlude this story in the third installment.

Published in: on January 24, 2006 at 8:57 am  Comments (7)