After leaving Hobbiton, we drove down to Rotorua, and arrived in time to abuse the hotel's free wifi, and discover that we could basically only get signal for said wifi if we sat on the bench of the kitchenette right next to the door. We walked into town for dinner and detoured past some hot springs for a little look, where we promptly discovered that hot springs smell like a combination of fart and wet dog with an unwelcome side of steam that means you're WALKING THROUGH STINKY CLOUDS OF STINKINESS. In short: ew.
Anyway, we had dinner (I had chicken strips because I'm a grown up), then wandered down towards the lake where we promptly froze to death from the wind and high tailed it back to the hotel. But not before admiring this cool church:
The following morning, we drove into town for breakfast, where I was presented with this BOWL of hot chocolate:
|I'm a little sad it didn't have a lightning bolt scar...|
Once we'd finished stuffing our faces, we jumped in the car and headed out to Rotorua's number one tourist attraction (according to TripAdvisor, at least) - the redwood forest. We picked one of the walking tracks that was an hour or so, and headed off into the forest. It was, excitingly, the one place in town that doesn't smell like wet dog farts, which I suspect is part of why it's so popular.
The trees were pretty impressive, and the whole walk was gorgeous. Plus, the redwoods kept making me think of Redwoodian, which gave me squees.
In the afternoon, we headed over to Te Puia. After returning to the Kiwi House THREE TIMES, we finally got to see one moving around, and it was the greatest thing ever. I have no photos, sadly, because NOCTURNAL. But rest assured, kiwis are adorable and my second favourite thing ever (the first being red pandas, obviously).
We took the guided tour around the site, past gloopy mud pools and geysers and a recreated Maori village, to displays of Maori weaving and carving techniques.
The whole thing was really well done, and we had plenty of time left to look around at our own pace between the tour and the Maori cultural performance, which included a haka, traditional songs, and poi dancing, which was pretty fabulous:
It was only 4.00 by the time we finished there, so we parked by the Rotorua Museum (which we didn't have time to go to, but the building is REALLY PRETTY), and wandered around the lake for a while.
Next time, we go to a fabulous cafe for breakfast, then head south in search of more stinkiness and a dirty great volcano.