Hobbiton and Rotarua
Despite only being on the bus for 2 days our group has already got on so well, we are like one big family and are having a blast! I was a bit worried from things I've heard about the kiwi bus that it would be full of very young travellers who just want to get drunk. Now don't get me wrong our group can certainly drink but we all really want to see what New Zealand has to offer as well and don't want to miss out on any experience so we are all very like minded and the average age is around 24 so it's awesome!
Today we left Waitomo and headed on to Rotarua, however on the way we had to make a stop at Hobbiton and check out the hobbits' homes! The weather could not have been better for our visit to the set of Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. Yet again our guide was brilliant, telling us all sorts of behind the scenes info and how they shot certain scenes to make the hobbits look small etc. The setting is gorgeous, all around are green rolling hills and Hobbiton is the cutest place ever! Nestled in the hills are loads of tiny hobbit houses, all of varying sizes for different scenes. The attention to detail is incredible with some of the leaves of the trees being hand pinned on to give exactly the right look for what season it was meant to be. There were little washing lines with tiny hobbit clothes hanging off and tiny vegetable gardens. We even got to see Bilbo Baggin's house and the bench where one of the most famous scenes between Gandalf and Frodo was shot. After our tour around the hobbit houses we went and had a drink at the Green Dragon pub, where we got a free beer and sat by a fire with a very cut, very fat cat!
After a great afternoon at Hobbiton we headed on to Rotorua which was interesting. As we got off the bus there was a distinct smell of eggs. This is due to the sulphur from the springs and geysers that are all over the city. You got used to the smell after a while! That evening we went to a Mauri experience evening. This was set in the forrest and was a mock up of a traditional Mauri tribe. We learnt about their weapons, how they trained children for war, their tools, culture and of course how to do the Haka! We then enjoyed a show which involved traditional dance, music and more of the Haka. The evening ended with a huge feast which was cooked underground in the traditional way using a Hāngi. It was an all you can eat set up and we sure did eat all we could!! Feeling rather sick but very happy we headed back to the hostel and went to the hostel bar.
After a few drinks at the bar most people headed to bed after a long day but a few of us decided to have a look around Rotarua and find another bar to go to. Unfortunately everything was shut, everything apart from a very grim strip club! We ended up in this random and empty strip club with some very gross stippers. It was hilarious! When I went to buy a drink in this strip club I got given my change in stripper dollars which I was told I could use to tip the dancers or buy a drink, or I could exchange them on my way out for real money. A clever but sneaky way of stealing money because the next morning I realised I still had $6 change in stripper dollars that I could obviously no longer use!!