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Rotorua..the eggy city!

NEW ZEALAND | Sunday, 5 June 2011 | Views [707]

On the road heading from Taupo to Rotorua you can see all the signs of what is going under the ground beneath with all of the steam rising out from random areas in the fields. I loved the wee bus driver cos he was giving us so many facts about the area (sometimes they don't bother) and he told us that the Earth's crust was half as thick over that part of the country than any other normal place in the World..scary stuff! The stench of egg when you arrive in the town is unbelieveable due to all of the sulphur coming out of the ground.

I dropped my stuff off at my hostel, which was one of my favs so far cos i didn't have to sleep in a bunk bed, and headed out for a walk through the park and down to the lake. It was amazing that they have bubbling mud pools right in the middle of the park, absolutely reeking though! I also wandered through a wee Maori village next to the lake which was cool..and loads of the houses in the town just have random bits of steam coming out from their garden. I can't imagine living somewhere like that! I had been recommended a really good ice cream shop in the town so obviously made a pitstop there on the way home hehe. The hostel i was staying in had a really cosy lounge and DVDs, luckily i met 2 girls who were working their way through Harry Potter films so ended up watching about 3 of them while i was there!

The next day i had booked to go on a tour around Wai-o-Tapu geothermal park. It's basically the best place to go and see all of the geothermal activity and how it has affected the land over the years. First they took us to a massive mud pool which was bubbling away furiously and stank so badly..would not have fancied jumping in there cos it looked roasting! Afterwards we headed to the Lady Knox Geyser which they set off everyday at the same time (so it's a bit contrived really). Apparently they just do this so the public are guaranteed to see it, otherwise they would not know exactly when it was going to erupt everyday. They throw some chemical in which causes it to erupt and it goes on for about 45 mins and it can get up to 20 metres high. It was pretty impressive! The next part was without a doubt the best part though..they took us to the area where they have craters and pools which you can walk round in just over an hour. There were loads of bubbling craters, with crazy yellow and green colours because of the chemicals. There was a part called the champagne pool which was a massive lake steaming away and bright orange all the way around the edge. My favourite part had to be the Devil's Bath though which was a small lake that was bright green coloured..it looked so poisonous! Really you have to see my photos to appreciate it so i'll get them uploaded on the blog soon. I was lucky to have had a good day which wasn't too cloudy so the colours came out really bright.

I had been humming and hawing over whether to book another tour for the next day (NZ fundage is running low) but i had really wanted to do the Lord of the Rings movie set tour which takes you to Hobbiton. It's a massive sheep farm where they filmed all of the parts in the Shire with the wee hobbit houses and it looked pretty cool, plus i was also told the filmset had been newly rebuilt as they were due to start filming in February (which has now been put back to November). So that made my final decision, plus the fact i never know when or if i'll be back here again. Unfortunately the weather had taken a turn for the worst and it was really cloudy, but luckily the rain stayed off until the tour was finished. It was about an hours drive outside of Rotorua and when we got dropped off we were herded into the sheep hut to watch a sheep shearing show (try saying that fast). I also got to feed a wee lamb with a bottle which was so cute! I didn't realise sheep shearing was like a sport over here but the guy told us the fastest person can shear 833 sheep in a working day. After that we jumped into a mini van and drove about 5 mins over the hills to the set, you can tell why Peter Jackson chose it for the film because all you can see are rolling green hills and trees as far as the eyes can see..it was beautiful. When i got my first glimpse of one of the hobbit holes i was so excited (i know, what a loser!) and little did i know there were 40 of them built for the movie! The guy who took us on the tour was great and knew his stuff, so he would tell us exactly where parts of the film were made as we walked around the wee village. The attention to detail in the set is unbelieveable, the houses and gardens look aged, they have wee trees and bushes planted around them and even a pumpkin patch. The coolest part was the massive oak tree above Bag-end, which was completely fake and had thousands of leaves imported from China which people had to stick on by hand. I have plenty photos of this all but i'm not allowed to publish them online as i signed a disclaimer with the film company that means i can't til the Hobbit movies are released. All in all the tour was amazing, and they ended it by giving us a wee munch in the cafe - a pie, a cookie and an apple. The only negative i would say is that you can't actually go inside the houses..but you can see why they don't as thousands of tourists passing through would wreck them no doubt.

So that was that, Rotorua has to be one of the best places in the North Island to keep you entertained..extreme sports, walking, kayaking, spas..i could have stayed for a week. But it was time to move on further North.

I had a bit of a shitter in Tauranga when i arrived on Saturday night..it was pissing it down and all of the hostels i had called were fully booked as it was a holiday weekend. This weird old American man ended up tagging along with me from the bus as he was looking for a hostel aswell. I think he was a bit of a weirdo so i was glad when i bumped into a German girl at one of the hostels and she had been told to go to one which was the only place that had beds. When we arrived, we knew why. It was an absolute shithole, the guy on reception was a total junkie, they hadn't even made up the beds and it stank of piss. I didn't have much choice though so we checked in and paid $25 for the luxury of that (along with the random American guy) and the dorm was rank..some guy was living there and there was shit all over the floor so we pretty much just dumped our stuff and went out for food while the old man went to bed at about 7.30 haha. When we got back the noise in the place was unbelieveable, but we tried to sleep anyway and some stupid junkie girl was banging on our door looking for someone at one point. I think i eventually nodded off about 3am for fear of being robbed. It was one of those hostels that young folk are put in when they run away from home...im sure of that! Anyway we got outta there by 8.30 in the morning and i had booked somewhere else to stay the night thankfully so headed there for a shower.

I've had a pretty chilled day here, was too tired to do any walks so i'll save that for my next stop in the Coromandel Peninsula.

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