A Travellerspoint blog

To Lake Taupo and beyond

And that’s pronounced toe-paw. Obviously!

all seasons in one day 20 °C
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A travel day today from Napier to Rotorua and it was all seasons in a day. We had clouds to start with, then thick fog over the mountains, then clouds, then sun, then rain. We did take in Lake Taupo on the way, which is a pretty spectacular lake sitting in the middle of a massive volcano crater. We also took in Huka Falls, which are probably the most impressive falls we’ve seen so far. They’re not high but you get a real sense of the power and you get up close. We also stopped off at the Honey Hive, which (as the name suggests) focuses on bees and honey-based products. We tasted several different honeys but resisted buying some bio-active Manuka Honey for $97 (about £40). We did get a small jar to take home though. Rotorua’s only a short blast from there and boy, you know when you get to Rotorua! It’s in a dormant volcano crater that emits sulphur. It clears the sinuses to say the least. We’re off to see some volcanic activity tomorrow so we’ll report back after that. And this evening we’ve just taken advantage of the hot spring at our motel and sat in the (smelly) mineral-rich 41 degrees Celsius water. It’s supposed to be good for your skin and help you sleep. We’ll see.

Posted by neilthelr 12:31 Archived in New Zealand Tagged sightseeing Comments (0)

If you want Art Deco

Napier's the place

sunny 24 °C
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Apart from today being Valentine’s Day, it was a day of wandering around Napier and doing their 2hr walking tour this afternoon. The 1931 earthquake with the ensuing fire flattened the town and gave them a chance to rebuild in the prevailing style of the day: Art Deco. As such, most of the central buildings in the town centre are Art Deco, which makes for a lovely town with some great heritage. Unfortunately, later planners weren’t so sensible and have approved the odd monstrosity but they’ve only lost a handful of buildings since the 1930s, which is good. Add to that the nice sunny day, the free glass of ‘champagne’ with dinner (only for the ladies) and an ice cream sitting on the sea front and you have a nice day.

Posted by neilthelr 01:24 Archived in New Zealand Tagged sightseeing Comments (0)

Lucky old Duke of Wellington

He’s got himself a nice place

sunny 30 °C
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So, 3 days in Wellington have concluded and we can safely say it’s a lovely city. The view from Mount Victoria is simply stunning; 360 degree views of the city. We did a city walk on the first proper day, taking in the major sites and also a 1hr tour of parliament. You just turn up and ask to go on it. It’s free, and you feel welcome. UK Government: take note!! The constitutional process is pretty much the same as the UK (Queen is Head of State, they have a Black Rod etc.) so it felt a lot like the UK Parliament. Even the colours are the same between the Commons and their ‘Lords’. Yesterday we were geeks and did a LOTR tour (Lord of the Rings for the uninitiated). We saw where the Hobbits did the ‘Get off the Road’ scene, we re-enacted a shot of the Black Riders – see the photo – in the same location, the River Anduin, Rivendell (mum, dad, we got some pictures!) and the quarry where Minis Tirith and Helms Deep were built. The afternoon was the Te Papa museum, which is the national museum. The building itself is as interesting as some of the things in it, but it’s a fascinating place and well worth a visit. And today we visited the WETA Cave – WETA being the company behind the LOTR computer animation, costumes etc. – before hitting the road and heading to Napier to experience the Art Deco festival. All that and the sun shone on us for all 3 days with it peaking at 30 degrees Celsius today. Nice.

Posted by neilthelr 01:00 Archived in New Zealand Tagged sightseeing Comments (0)

We’re true Backpackers (Nikki – don’t panic, read on)

Well, almost. Flashpackers at least!

sunny 23 °C
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We’ve taken the backpacker approach to dinner in Wellington. Dinner was a 2-4-1 burger place, such that the alcohol was more than the food. We were reflecting upon being backpackers as we headed back to our top floor, luxury, boutique apartment, including dishwasher, washer/dryer, balcony and gym!

Posted by neilthelr 00:59 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

These are a few of our favourite things

Top ‘10’ of the South Island and our likes / dislikes

sunny 20 °C
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For a bit of fun we did a ‘favourite things of the south island. In no particular order
Favourite view = Mount Cook (Milford Sound a close second)
Favourite ‘refreshment’ = The Italian in Queenstown (Cloudy Bay wine tasting a close second)
Favourite accommodation = Century Park Motor Lodge, Nelson (Milford Sound boat a close second)
Favourite trip = Milford Sound overnight cruise (Franz Josef Glacier walk a close second)
Favourite Drive = Te Anau to Milford Sound (Franz Josef to Queenstown a close second)

Some things we found to be better than expected…Queenstown – you can take it at the pace you want – and Puzzling World
Some things we found disappointing…Whale watching and not being able to fly over the glaciers and Mount Cook.

We’ve also noted a few things we liked / disliked about New Zealand along the way
Likes = Free water put on tables in restaurants without having to ask; public toilets are plentiful and clean; there’s a lack of vandalism; drivers are generally fairly patient when it comes to overtaking
Dislikes = The number of insect bites we’ve had; whilst drivers are patient, waiting to overtake, they tailgate you when following, leaving 1 of 2 car lengths at best. This means you have to overtake 2 cars if you’re the one overtaking.

Posted by neilthelr 02:51 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

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