Hey, the three of us went from Auckland an headed east along the north island in our kiwi experience bus, and across the Haruki plains- gren, flat areas used for dairy farming. We crossed the Thames river, and to the town of thames which was a cute little town (with the mountains of the coromandel peninsula overlooking it). Had lunch here, then went across the coromandel peninsula (nice rolling hills with kauri trees and tree ferns, with the odd bit of open grass for horses and more dairy cows). This looked like another place I would want to live lol. There just didnt seem to be any people and it was so stunning.
We followed the road as it got to the ocean and following along the cliffs, reminded me of the great ocean road except we were higher up. Got to the town of Tauri, another nice little town, which had beautiful batches (peoples holiday homes, lucky b******s). We pulled up and the three of us took off on the 45 min walk from here to Cathedral cover, an amazing cove with cliffs and the sea (looked that the place in chronicles of narnia when they get off the train onto the beach...) Anyway, we took a zillion photos and then sunbathed for a bit. We all fell asleep and claire woke us up in time to walk, fast, back to our bus :-)
We then went to mercury bay, which legend has it is where the maoria first arrived in their sea canoes, and we stayed at turtle cove, which was like a big house that was run by two old couples (aka the grandparents), and it was so homely and nice! The three of us walked round mercury bay, saw buffalo beach and the very posh marina with all the nice boats 9this is another place where I would live). We had a fab dinner there which they cooked, and sat in the garden. We spent time with some people from our bus- george, helen, james and ann. We played cards for a while and then us three had to speak to Fly about planning our bus- its actually mega simple with kiwi experience, no need to book buses.
We turned it and got up early as the bus left at half 7, and we went to Mata Mata- very nice little town- this is where theres a bit of hobbiton to look at, and gollum! This town was unheard of until LOTR was made. We had fish n chips- the fish here is Hoki, also so much nice than cod! I love the fish over here! We also stoped off at a little town where the world famous, in NZ, P&O drink came from (very nice, like lemonade). We took cheesy photos all morning, from the giant P&O bottle to Gollums statue lol.
p.s.- just adding in a bit here that I forgot- we stopped off at an old mining area and went over some nice (very swingy lol) suspension bridges to some mining tunnels and walked through them, every so often coming out onto the cliffs and then walking along, with a river below. It was immense, the tunnels were really cool, glad I had a torch for those. Some people didnt like the wobbly bridges though (the guys jumped up and down to make them swing more, I liked it).
We got to Rotorua next, very famous for its geothermal pools and geysers! There is steam coming out of peoples gardens and from the drains in the roads here! Stinks of sulphur but your used to it in about 2 mins. Very nice looking town but apparently it is rough a bit, dont walk around at night was what Fly told us. I did see plenty of police, hardly seen them on our travelling.
Fly dropped some people off at our hostel, the fab Base (complete with its geothermal heating and hot pool, and heated swimming pool). You can see why people live here- cheap heating lol. She carried on driving and took us three and a few others on to Te Whakarewarewatanga o te ope taua a wahiao. Translated to the gathering place of the war parties of the wahiao (Maori tribe). This is where the geothermal pools are and geysers. We joined the guided tour for a bit, where our moari guide tried to get us to pronounce the name with not much success, and explained that the long name is one continuous sentence that tells you about the history of an area. He said that when names are shortens you lose the meaning, so if want to now about places in NZ you should ask for the full name.
We then snuck away from the tour to see the Kiwi bird house (nocturnal, got to watch a brown kwi bird foraging and feeding, so cool! I love em. Then we went round the mudpools, and watched the Pohuto Geyser erupt and thn settle down again (does so every hour). It was a lush hot day (like everyday so far in NZ, touch wood). And then we went back to the bus and went to our Base hostel, checked in. We walked round the town of Rotorua, saw the beautiful lake (and yes, we could all live here too!). Saw a sea plane take off, and theres loads of ducks and black swans at the shallow edges of the lake, where theres also parkland. We went bk our hostel after a bit (went round shops in town too, one of the nicest towns for shops and restaurants). Me and sarah chilled at the heated pool and hot pool, then we all got ready for our amazing evening......
We went on an adventure tour to the Moari village, authentic 9they live here, the business is maori ran and maori employed. Our driver was funny- he had plenty of bad jokes but a great character and we did laugh. He called us Paheka, maori name for pale faces (NZ people call themselves Jaffa, some on this trip were happy to be called paheka). Our driver got us singing, pretending to be a tribe and rowing on the bus as if it was a canoe, and chanting ootea- waka when rowing, and saying Kee-ora! (hello, welcome, thank you and goodbye! Best word ever). Our tribe was Kui, and the driver picked a guy to be our cheef, a weedy guy called Geroge bless him, he didnt volunteer but was picked lol. He had to do the traditional rub noses greeting when we got there to the maoris, and receive the welcome from the warriors, which was scary! Other buses had come and they had elected chiefs too. All our chiefs received the warriors welcome, which is meant to honour you but looks as if theyre going to kill you (hence settlers used to shoot them and think they were attacking). They scream, grunt, shout, wield weapons and leap about with their eyes held very wide open and their tongues right out their mouth! Looks wicked. Our charlie did well bless him. We loved watching it. We then went round their maroi village, learnt more about their culture, housing, way of life, and one of the guys there was very fit and also pretty crazy, very different to the other mellow, rather large guys of the tribe. I went over the get a photo and he was like 'oohh... pretty woman, my chief will like you.' He was pretty scary with all the tatoos that they have- all over the face and arms, legs.
We then all got herded to the hall for story telling and entertainment (singing and dancing, swinging ropes, batons and weapons). They were incredible to watch! The crazt guy was pretty entertaining when he had moments of showing up for people, he was bloody mental!
We then went to the other hall for an amazing dinner, one of the best meals weve had while travelling, and it was all cooked traditionally with hot rocks. We saw more shows, learnt more about how our food was cooked, went in their little shop in which theyd made almost everything in there, all the carvings etc, and they gave thanks at the end to those of their people who started the business, and we joined hands (huge group of us, several coachloads) and sung in honour of all of those who dies in the world wars, and we sung in Maori which was just amazing, a song for peace. We didnt want to leave at the end.
On the bus on the way bk, we all had to sing a song from our country (would you believe it, englands song was spicegirls!) to entertain the driver, the americans and germans had wierder songs. And at one point ours and another coach went round and round a roundabout, singing 'she'l be coming round the mountain when she comes...' over and over til we were dizzy lol. Our driver continued his bad jokes- we passed mcdonalds and he said 'and theres the american embassy'. lol we loved him.
And then we got bk for about 11pm, packed for tomorrow (were off to Waitomo, amazing place of some incredible caves and glow worms etc). Then I came online while everyone else sleeps (usually when I do my blog lol) and caught up. Will write again soon!! p.s. me and c;aire singed up to do some crazy caving stuff while were there- 5 hours of squuezes through caves, abseling 20m into a cave, waterfalls, zip lining over waterfalls, climibg, black water rafting...I f I dont continue the blog we didnt do so well lol! Going to be absolutely amazing! xxxxxxxxxx