Rotorua (October 22- 23, 2016)
Rotorua has many things to offer, but we were only interested in 2 activities. One activity was zorbing, which was created in Rotorua. Zorbing is being trapped in a human sized hamster ball and rolling down a hill pathway. We got up early to be the first people at the OGO company, who do zorbing. We didn’t waste any time and went straight to the top, instead of sitting in a hot tub below for a while. Happenstance, a staff member needed to finish preparing our zorbing ball, so we ended up relaxing in a hot tub at the top anyways. While the guy filled lukewarm water in the zorbing ball, I wondered how often the hot tub water gets cleaned out and that I was thankful to be the first person testing out the water that day. The hamster ball was finally ready to go, we lunged ourselves inside, and the staff sent us rolling on the zigzag path. We were sloshing inside and constantly laughing, especially at the corners. The wind helped us speed up. We initially wanted to do dry zorbing (no water inside the ball), but the wind level would have thrown us off the pathway. Overall, zorbing is too expensive for what the activity was, but we wanted to try it out at least once. And it was fun!
Next, we zipped over to the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park. We arrived right on time for the free tour. As we strolled through the park, we saw all kinds of colors created by nature. I was captivated by the colorful ground and water; everything from orange, yellow, green, and more. Though the place was pleasing to the eyes, the nose wasn’t delighted. If you are feeling gassy, then this place is where you want to go to release pressure undetected. The natural chemicals had many parts of the park smelling foul. Especially the sulfur that reeked of rotten eggs. I was happy to inhale refreshing air after leaving the park.
We didn’t check out the town at all, but drove to National Park. Our initial plan was to sleep here for 1 night and then hike Mount Doom (a mountain from Lord of the Rings) in the morning. This hike is considered the best 1-day hike in New Zealand. The park is free to enter as well, but after taking 7 hours to complete the one-way trip, the bus service to return to the beginning of the path or back to town charged $21. Outrageous! That’s a 30-min drive. $21? I don’t think so. Instead of throwing our money out the window or doing a smaller, free hike, we decided to move on to Wellington and spend an extra day there.
Wellington (October 23- 25, 2016)
Wellington was my favorite city in New Zealand. The city has this calm feeling. Maybe only because we arrived on a Sunday (which got us cheap parking), but the place is surrounded by the ocean and distant mountains. The citizens were lounging around the waterfront as if there were a festival. Overall just a great atmosphere.
By the waterfront was the library. After utilizing the free internet at the library, we visited the Te Papa Museum. This free museum is a must go to place. It’s a huge building with many different exhibits. We spent few hours in here, but skimmed over half of the displays. Just too much to see in one sitting. The information was displayed in various, creative ways, which makes this museum one of the better ones I’ve ever been to.
After our brains could no longer soak up additional information, we hiked up town to the Botanical Garden. This vast garden has a few sections, but I thought the playground there was awesome for children. There was even a zip line and I wanted to be a bully and shoo the children away so I could go myself, but refrained. We wrapped up our day with a dinner and on our way back to the parking lot, we happened to stumble across a firework show.
The following day, we stayed at the campsite and relaxed before we had to board the ferry to the South Island at 2:30am. The relocation car company paid for our fare. We didn’t realize that we weren’t allowed to stay in the camper below deck, but that everyone is required to move upstairs. Replacing the comfortable camper bed, we now had to settle in a padded chair. We also forgot to bring food and warmer clothing since a ferry staff urged us to exit the vehicle. So, I constantly woke up cold with a grumbling stomach.
Exiting the ferry, we had a long drive ahead of us to Christchurch, where we needed to drop of our relocation campervan and pick up another relocation car. We didn’t spend any time in Christchurch yet, but took off to Takaka, where we plan to visit a park. That story is coming up next.
Cost breakdown of Rotorua (1 day with total cost of $86.64. Average daily cost is $86.64.)
- Transportation: $27.72 (Gas Money)
- Activities: $58.92
- Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Park: $23.21
- OGO zorbing: $35.71
Cost breakdown of Wellington (2 days with total cost of $61.29. Average daily cost is $30.65.)
- Transportation: $27.72 (Gas Money)
- Food: $31.43
- Meals: $9.10 (2 meals)
- Groceries: $22.33
- Miscellaneous: $2.14 (Parking fee)