Our Kiwi Holiday – Part 3

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.

We left Rotorua for New Plymouth on Christmas Eve. According to the guide map we had at the time, there would be passing by the attraction known as the Three Sisters which I guessed was similar to the Twelve Apostles rock formation attraction along the Great Ocean Road here in Victoria. I “guessed” because we haven’t actually seen it up close. But we did try.

We followed the signs that led us to where we would allegedly find the Three Sisters. Instead, we found an empty graveled car park by the beach. After a little looking around, we realised that we were expected to walk beside the foot of this cliff by the beach on to the other side to see the rock formation.

So, we walked the rocky and muddy path to the other side then all of a sudden, the tide began to rise. The water and foam was slowly but steadily approaching the cliff where we were walking. We immediately doubled-back to the car. Thankfully, we were only like five minutes away from the car park. Had we been there earlier, we would’ve been at the other side of that stupid cliff when the water rushed back in. There should’ve been another way to see the attraction without having to risk getting trapped. Or maybe there was and we just didn’t know about it. With that we continued our journey to New Plymouth.

We only planned to stay in New Plymouth for three days including the day we arrived and the day we would leave. That left us with just one day, Christmas Day, to actually go see Mount Taranaki and the surrounding areas. So, when the lady at the hotel told us that there was going to be a Festival of Lights event at the nearby Pukekura Park (teehee), we grabbed at the opportunity.

According to the hotel lady, the park would be lit up with colourful lighting at night and that there would also be a celtic band playing. The last bit certainly made me want to go even more. I had hoped the band would play a recorder.

On the way to the event, we realised that we had to walk a long way to get there. Walking distance, indeed! And on the way, we were attacked! Or at least, almost attacked.

A few minutes into the park, we began hearing faint music. It must be the band, I thought. We followed the music because we were essentially lost inside the park by then.

At last we reached a clearing and in the distance was an empty amphitheatre beside a lake. Well, almost empty. There were lots of ducks both in the lake and on the amphitheatre grounds. There was no other way but to go through the amphitheatre grounds where the ducks were. Then, halfway through the amphitheatre grounds, all the ducks turned towards our direction. Those on the lake swam towards us while those on land started walking towards us! It was like they were trying to corner us then pounce on us. Really! We ended up making a run for it.

We made it to the part of the park where the band was actually playing. I was a bit disappointed that there was only one band but it was the first time I’ve ever seen a celtic band perform live so I was still pretty happy about it. So we spent the night listening to the renaissance stylings of the Crehan Celtic Sound band.

We were very tired when we got back to our hotel since we had to walk like the hotel lady recommended. We so regretted not bringing the car. In the room, we got out the sleeping bags we bought earlier because the room was a bit on the seedy side like the hotel we had in Auckland (see Part 1).

We always have some form of Christmas Eve midnight feast (as is tradition in the Philippines) but that year, we didn’t. We were too tired to stay up too late. That and we didn’t really have a lot of stuff to eat. We bought a lot of canned goods and a small bag of buns earlier but we decided to only eat those the next day when all the shops would be close (we found this out earlier that day). So, our Christmas dinner was nothing more than cold canned food with bread for a side-dish. To date, it’s the worst Christmas dinner we had ever had.

We included going to New Plymouth in our itinerary mainly because of Mount Taranaki aka Mount Egmont which, like I wrote before, was featured in the movie Last Samurai. It was unfortunate that we couldn’t go to the actual set for the movie because it being Christmas day, the set was closed. Luckily, you really couldn’t close down a mountain over the holidays so we were still able to drive towards it and look at the sights around it like Dawsons Falls.

After our trip to the mountain, we spent the rest of Christmas day just watching TV which was having a Lord of the Rings marathon while eating our canned Christmas feast.

The next day, we drove back to Auckland where we spent the rest of our Kiwi Holiday. I know I wrote last time that I’d try finishing this series with Part 3 but there is so much more to write. And so, this story will be continued.

Published in: on January 27, 2006 at 12:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

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