We came down yesterday, mostly along a scenic route rather than the most direct route down the middle of the country. We saw fields and cows and hills that wouldn't have looked out of place in Hampshire. We saw Mountains and Valleys and Rivers that definitely wouldn't have looked out of place in Middle Earth (although we saw no hobbits nor any soaring eagles!). We tried to stop in Tauranga for lunch but couldn't see anything suitable. So we ended up at Mount Maunganui. Not the actual mountain but the waterside shopping strip, where we found an eaterie and had rather a good platter of antipasti to share.
And so to our home for the next two nights. The garden backs directly on to Lake Rotorua. We have an absolutely fabulous view. The weather wasn't all that it might be; it was wet and windy and gloomy. But we didn't care. We opened the wine, cooked the chicken we had found in Rotorua itself, and served it with the veg we had bought at the Farmers' Market in Hobsonville.
|Our evening view from our lounge room|
The sun was shining brightly when we got up, although it was still extremely windy.
We partook of a leisurely breakfast and were pondering what to do with the day. I noticed the owner hanging her washing out and went out so say hello. She asked how our dinner had been and what we had had for breakfast. (I think she had been surprised but pleased when she started to tell us about the eating out options and we had said that we had brought food and intended to cook for ourselves). Then she said that there was a small Farmers' Market in the centre of town on Sundays that she thought we might enjoy. It runs until 11:30. By then it was 9:30 so we hopped in the car and went to look for it.
It might have been small, but it was really very lovely. If we had lived here, or had been staying for longer, we could have bought lots and lots of things. But we can't take Farmers' Market food back into Australia so we restricted ourselves to a truly beautiful bunch of asparagus and went on our way.
To a flea market by the lake 😊
Right. It's time to go and do sensible things. We made our way to Whakarewarewa Living Village which is a place a little bit like Sovereign Hill in Ballarat, though smaller, with people actually living there, and with thermal springs and geysers. Oh - and nature walks. We went on one of the self guided nature walks, which are not well sign posted and ended up walking all around all sorts of places that we hadn't intended to go to but which were amazing to happen upon.
And so to Waimangu Volcanic Village, where we walked downdowndowndowndown past steam bursts, craters, boiling rivers, downdowndowndown. Then we picked up a small bus (you could have walked the rest of the way but we were a bit short of time) and went down to Lake Rotomahana and took a small boat on a 45 minute guided tour of the lake. It was absolutely fascinating. I've never toured a volcanic crater by boat before. I don't think I've had anything much to do with volcanoes at all until this weekend!
We took a bus back all the upness. We were beginning to tire by that stage.
We have had lovely sunshine and not very much wind all day today. Back at base, the wind is howling gustily. You could almost go out surfing on the (landlocked!) lake.
We have lots of Farmers' Market veg for tea tonight and some steak - and and still some mushrooms for a mushroom sauce.
Tomorrow we head to Hamilton and thence Melbourne. And our first trip to New Zealand will be done