A twisty, hilly and picturesque drive to Emma and Luke's. A warm welcome as we arrived to their fantastic huge home and garden. A modern new bungalow with a larger then large garden. Luke cooked a BBQ and Heston and Quilan their boys entertained us! Much to Luke and Phils amusement Emma and I had a great catch up, telling the boys our stories from school and college. Emma took us to Hamilton Gardens the next day, which had gardens from all around the world. Stopped for real fresh fruit ice cream which was yummy. Said our sad farewells and headed off after a lovely time spent with lovely friends.
After a quick 40 minute drive we arrived at Martines, another friend from school. We had a catch up before heading out to the Blue springs, a natural river with a spring, it's 11c all year round despite the season. Martine then took us to her local for a great view and we had dinner there, before setting back to sit on her veranda and catch up some more.
Rotorua was definitely one of my favourites so far! Arrived at lunchtime as it was only a short drive from Martines, and it was a good road. Walked into the town and visited the Maori church and cemetery, they are buried above the ground because of the Geo thermal ground. Back to the campsite for a dip in the mineral pool and a swim in the pool. We went to a show in the evening, the Maori peeps performed dance and songs including the Haka which was just amazing. Very uplifting! We dined on traditional Hangi food, which basically means, it's cooked in the ground, in a pit and covered in wet sacks. We watched the food being lifted and uncovered, legs of lamb, whole chickens, sweet potatoes and new potatoes. It's was delicious