Napier, and Rotorua (again)

I’ve been a bit lax in updating this lately, and I haven’t been keeping notes, so this is going to be like an ‘artist’s impression’ (ie kinda like reality but maybe not exactly right) of what I did in Napier and Rotorua.

After I arrived back in Rotorua from the eastern cape, I had a fun-filled laundry afternoon. The cheapest laundry so far though, only $3 for a wash and $3 for the dryer instead of $4 for each which it has been everywhere else I’ve done laundry. Having a bag full of clean clothes (and most importantly, a clean, dry, and smell-free towel) is very satisfying.

The next day I caught an Intercity bus to Napier. Intercity is the equivalent of National Express in the UK. The bus went via Taupo and took about 4 hours. I arrived in Napier late afternoon and checked into my hostel, and then headed to the supermarket for supplies. I didn’t get up to much for the rest of the day, went to see some fountains lit up in the evening, and then went for a drink with a couple of girls in my dorm.

  
The next day I spent the morning on a self guided walking tour of Napier. Napier was pretty much destroyed by an earthquake in 1931, and was rebuilt largely in the Art Deco style of the time, much of which remains today. 

   
    
   
In the afternoon I walked along the waterfront to the aquarium. It was a glorious day and the view along the seashore was spectacular:

   
 
There was yet another pretty sunset in the evening which I enjoyed from the balcony of the hostel:

  
The next day I ventured to nearby Hastings. The local bus took roughly an hour to get there. Hastings was similarly impacted by the 1931 earthquake and also retains a lot of Art Deco architecture:

  
There wasn’t a massive amount to see in Hastings. I definitely preferred Napier, so I headed back mid afternoon. Napier does the ‘cafe culture’ very well, so I spent a while enjoying a milkshake and cake whilst making use of the free wifi. #1 in the list of things you get good at whilst travelling is hunting down free wifi.

The next day I went to the museum before catching the bus back to Rotorua in the afternoon.

As a birthday treat, I had booked myself into an actual hotel for 2 nights. My own room! A double bed! Fluffy towels! A bath! Heaven.

I switched on a TV for the first time in over 2 months. Guess what? There was nothing on. Despite my extensive telly-watching habits at home, it turns out that I’m not really missing TV. (Full disclosure – I have been watching clips of things on YouTube when wifi permits. Favourite one so far whilst I’ve been away is John Oliver’s piece on Donald Trump/Drumpf. Do watch it if you haven’t already. It’s ace.)

The next day, for birthday treat number 2, I went to the Polynesian Spa for a mud massage and to enjoy the hot pools. Rotorua is renowned for its geothermal activity, and as a result has some very nice hot pools:

  
I had a very relaxing afternoon at the spa, and rounded the afternoon off with a glass of vino courtesy of mum and dad who had put some NZ currency in the birthday card I’ve been carrying around since the end of December. Cheers!

  
After my birthday I had a couple more days to spare in Rotorua. Having already spent several days here over the last 2 weeks, there wasn’t much else for me to see. I went on a walk around the southern part of the lake called Sulphur Bay, where the geothermal activity is evident to both sight and smell, and had another trip to the cinema.

After a few days of downtime I was ready to move on, and say bye to Roto-Vegas.

  

Hobbiton

I’m getting a bit out of sync with what I’ve done, but I wanted this to be a stand-alone entry…I’ll get back to the last few days tomorrow (hopefully!).

Today I finally caved in and went to Hobbiton. Why ‘cave in’? Well, I’m not a massive Lord of the Rings fan – I’ve only seen the first movie and my standard line when asked about it is ‘well that’s 3 hours of my life that I’m never getting back’. But, I’ve been to New Zealand on 3 separate occasions now, and as a lot of people do come here for LOTR, I thought I should see what the fuss is about.

Hobbiton is one of the major film sets for LOTR and The Hobbit, and was built on a working farm near Matamata, about an hour north of Rotorua (where I’m currently staying).

The set and the surrounding landscape is beautiful, and it’s cool to see all the hobbit holes. I might even go and watch the other movies now!

  
  

   

The obligatory photo…

  
   
   
I also enjoyed a nice mug of cider at the Green Dragon

  
Overall I’m glad I went. Even if you aren’t a LOTR/Hobbit fan it’s still a cool thing to see. It really makes me want to go and do the Harry Potter tour outside of London when I get back though! Anyone want to come with me?