A Travellerspoint blog

New Zealand - Day Seven

Saturday 7th April 2010

sunny 25 °C
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After the previous nights Japanese Olympics I have a new found admiration for that Country although Hazel remains traumatised!

Up nice and early again and down to the hotel spa and swimming pool. Rotorua sits on an active volcanic area with natural hot springs just under the surface which most of the Hotels and Motels tap into.

The pool was like a bath and the spa even hotter. Fin was straight in and loving it, Ollie on the other hand took a lot more persuasion. Eventually he was in and loving it, making friends with all the other children and charming their mummies in a way only Ollie can, must be the Dean Gene!!

We all experienced the stinky sulphur pool and then it was time to go for breakfast…..I said Oliver its time to go….you guessed it Ollie now did not want to get out!

Now those who have been to Rotorua will know there is only one place to get breakfast and the one place I was looking forward to. FAT DOG’s. With my 7 year old Fat Dog t-shirt on we headed off.

“Mate I have not seen a t-shirt like that for years, that’s well retro”

The full works for me and man is it the full works, a veggie full works for Hazel and mini works for the kids. Yummy and set up for the day ahead.

We set off for Whakarewarewa thermal village. This is the site of a living Maori village and we were guided around by a local Maori. This was fascinating and totally absorbed Finaly. As you walk in you pass over a stream where the local children call for you to throw in a coin so they can retrieve it. After quizzing the guide the kids can make up to $50 (NZ) a day on a every man for themselves basis.

In the village we saw bubbling hot clear pools of water which are used to cook in, bath in and use for heat. Also there was bubbling hot mud pools and geyser’s shooting spouts of hot water into the air.

To finish there was a concert with traditional Maori singing ,dancing, war craft and of course the Haka. It was great concert and the kids were invited up to be almost part of it all with the local children. The boys loved it as did we.

After an ice cream it was back to the hotel with the boys having a well earned snooze.

With eat streat (yes that is how it is spelt) less than 50m from the hotel we were spoilt for choice. As we all fancied a steak we headed for café one-1-five which we had passed the previous day and the steaks had looked amazing.

This place was cool. Basically your steak came out raw and you cooked it to your own specification on a volcanic rock slab that comes out at 400 °C. Slice and cook. Awesome.

Back to the hotel and crash.

Posted by thedeanies 17:00 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

New Zealand - Day Six

Friday 9th April 2010

sunny 19 °C
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After a restless night with Fin we were up early to pack for the next leg to Rotorua.

After a quick look in Fin’s mouth, our fears were confirmed…good old Tonsillitis.
Not a problem.

The staff at the Church where we stayed were very helpful and rang some medical centres in Rotorua for us so with Fin dosed up with pain killers we were off.

With good foresight we had packed the DVD players for the car and with the Incredibles playing It was not long before Ollie was asleep.

The scenery was lovely from thick forests and windy roads to coastal beaches. We headed inland and it was not long until we saw the vast lake that Rotorura is next to.

After quickly checking in we were at the medical centre with Fin. £65 pounds lighter (ouch!) we had Finlay confirmed as having Tonsillitis but had the magic Antibiotics. A quick MacDonalds later the boys started to be back on form.

After a quick explore we headed back to the hotel to settle in. After a short while of trying to chill out in a hotel room we realised that our two don’t do confined spaces so we headed back out again!

Opposite the Hotel is a park by the lake that is so big that Fin thought it was the sea, so we headed over there to let off some steam. Then back to put warmer clothes on before out for noodles (fin’s request) then bed.

Little did we know how thin hotel walls were and for Hazel and I it was another disturbed night, this time with the extra-curricular activities of the couple next door. Both of us were scrambling to think of excuses should Fin wake up with questions but no worries we were the only ones disturbed in more than one way!!!

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New Zealand - Day Five

Thursday 8th April 2010

sunny 22 °C
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The best thing about the early nights are the early mornings. With the sun coming up the boys were awake and it was of to Hot water beach. Into the trusty 4b4 and a quick game of I spy with Fin….I spy with my little eye something beginning with H W B…. any guesses??

Hot water beach basically is a beach that has a hot spring (60° C) coming through the sand but is only accessible at low tide, hence the early start. There had been a big swell recently so the low tide was quite high but we still managed to experience the hot water in the sand.

We had been recommended a café for breakfast and man it was good. Big boy breakfast with everything on for me and Ollie and Egg Benedict for h which was always her favourite in NZ. More yum than yesterday.

Back to the ‘mini’ church to grab the swimming togs and off to Cathedral Cove. For all you Geologists amongst us a fantastic example of sea erosion. The rock has been eroded to form a Church like arch between to beautiful beaches, hence the name. The only problem with this divine place was the 45 min. walk. The boys were great although so would I have been sat on someone’s shoulders!!

Fin and me (Andy) were back in the sea. Bliss after that trek. Off the cliff face was a natural stream that formed a small waterfall which Ollie loved and we both had a freezing shower under. Ollie loved it though and we had to prize him out. Boy that boy has stamina!

After burying Fin in the sand and Ollie feeding the sea gulls with chocolate brownie (only the crumb Erica) it was time for the hike back. Hazel was on a mission and was off like a shot with Ollie. In record time we were back at the 4b4 and looking for a beer!!

What the only Café in town was shut!!

We picked up a few supplies and cooked the boys some tea who by now were knackered. With Ollie falling asleep in his tea and Fin fading fast it not long before they actually asked to go to bed all before six. Man I love NZ!!

G & T’s, a glass of wine and a pizza to go, lets see what adventures await us in Rotorua!!!.

p.s from Hazel - I’d forgotten how friendly the kiwi’s are and Andy, I’m just popping out to the car and end up speaking to the neighbours for half an hour is absolutely loving it!! Chat, chat, chat, chat, chat!!

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New Zealand - Day Four

Wednesday 7th April 2010

sunny 20 °C
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What a brilliant day! We chilled at Erica’s whilst Andy went and picked up our hire car. He returned after a sneaky coffee at the ferry terminal with Erica and searching around most of Auckland for my cardy with no success with a Hyundai Tucson, which looks pretty cool and is a four wheel drive which I am happy with considering the windy roads!

One small glitch….they only had a Barbie booster seat, pink and glittery, whoops! Luckily we thought on our feet and told Fin it was a big marshmallow seat……yep, you guessed it, he fell for it and loves his big marshmallow seat (see pictures!!)

We managed to shove our ever expanding luggage into the boot and said our goodbyes to Erica and the boys. Thank you sooo much to them, they saved our sanity and not only made us feel welcome but made us feel like part of the family. Love you guys and can’t wait to catch up with you in Taupo.

Here started our road trip!

Andy the star drove us along the single lane motorways over huge mountains and round the windiest roads to deliver us safely to Haihei in the Coromandel region. Haihei is known as one of the best beaches in New Zealand. We are staying at The Church accommodation which is an old church converted into a restaurant with gorgeous church-like timber cabins in the grounds. Fin likes to tell everyone that we are staying in a church that has been shrunk for people to stay in!!

After dumping our stuff we headed straight for the beach. A beautiful long stretch of white sand with numerous small rocky islands in the bay. Andy and Fin were straight into the sea and Ollie and I sat on the beach and thought to ourselves that this is what life is all about!

We warmed up Andy and Fin and then jumped in the 4b4 to a place called ferry landing just down the road. From there we caught the passenger ferry over to Whitianga (Pronounce the wh as an f). That was so much fun and the boys loved it. We walked from the ferry drop off and into a fish and chip restaurant. Now in New Zealand fish and chips are slightly more adventurous than back home. We didn’t just have the tastiest fish ever (blue nose, very fleshy), we also had battered mussels, squid and scallops….Yum.

Back to the car on the ferry and yes you guessed it by the time we were back at the accommodation the boys were asleep! A couple of glasses of Sauv Blanc and bed for us too, again before ten. What a wild wild life!!

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New Zealand - Day Three

Tuesday 6th April 2010

sunny 20 °C
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Fin woke up at five this morning. Obviously still acclimatising. And after I set the smoke alarm off by burning the toast Andy was awake too. Ollie still slept till half seven so he is really doing well. Can’t believe they crashed out without any tea and still slept most of the night.

As the weather was predicted to rain we decided to go to the Aquarium. Erica dropped us off at the ferry to Auckland city centre and off we went. The ferry journey is really cool although it is only about ten minutes. Then it was on to the free shark bus to the aquarium. The aquarium was built by a guy called Kelly Tarlton who built it underground using disused sewage tanks. The sad thing was he died three months after it was opened.

We learnt this by watching a DVD on the bus about how he did it. Finlay watched this intently then when we arrived said loudly “it’s really small isn’t it Mummy”, “that’s because its underground“ I said, “cool” he said….no idea!!

There was a lego theme so Fin was in his element. Ollie loved the penguin ride and I was splashed by a cheeky stingray. Fin believes it came back round and waved at us which meant he was sorry. It was wicked, especially as we saw the sharks being fed, the fish being fed and the stingray’s being fed. Then it was back to the ferry terminal for us to be fed…..with a huge ice cream!

Got home to find I’d lost my cardy…gutted, that makes the total: one stripy hoody and one cardy so far and we’ve only been away three days. We had kindly been invited to Ericas sisters for a family meal which was delicious. Unfortunately, you guessed it, our children fell asleep on the way over and missed the whole thing. Again feels like life before kids! It was such a shame as Fin had changed especially as he couldn’t possibly go to a party in a t-shirt, still a pom!

It was like home from home and Andy and I were made to feel very welcome. No dinner again for the boys and home for another early night.

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