Best. Weekend. Ever.

3 Jun

Due to the lack of a car our weekends have mainly been spent exploring the Wellington city area

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which is lovely but we’re not used to cities so craved some greenery…so off we went last Sunday on a monster walk down the Hutt River Trail – a 20 mile plus walk along the river which was beautiful although slightly marred by the motorway that followed the route so not the peaceful experience we thought it was going to be. It was nice to be outside and doing some exercise though and the views were great

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We walked our little trotters off though – leg muscles are approx. 95% shorter after that!

We walked from Upper Hutt back to the CBD – everyone at work’s reaction was…why!?

I would have posted a more thorough update last weekend but sadly I fell asleep watching Downton Abbey in bed and my laptop fell down the tiny crack between the bed and came to rest 2m down – goodbye laptop. Luckily the hard drive miraculously survived but the computer was no more. Dropping it was exactly how the last laptop died – lessons obviously were not learnt :(

We had a long weekend this weekend because of the Queen’s birthday – went for drinks after work and everyone was asking what we were doing for it…seemed such a waste to say nothing because of lack of car so someone suggested hiring a car so by 6pm Friday we’d booked one and had randomly decided on Rotorua because one of our Broome friends had recommended it…

…Didn’t quite realise it was 500km away but we thought the journey would be worth it. We were not disappointed: the drive was almost like sightseeing in itself.

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Lake Taupo – the largest lake in Australasia

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The mountain range which formed the set of Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings films.

Every corner yielded amazing scenery -whether bucolic rolling hills with meticulous rings around them from the sheep going round and round and round or the sea views across the bays towards the South Island or cliffs and rivers

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It was just beautiful. Well worth the seven plus hours in the car! And given they drive on the left and there’s only 4.5m people in NZ, with 1.5m in Auckland and 0.5m in Wellington, the roads were empty so it was a relaxing meander through the countryside to Rotorua.

Once we were there, we set about trying to find accommodation, no mean feat when it’s a bank holiday weekend. Everyone we rang said it was going to be at least $100 per night, which seemed a little steep. Until we rang the last motel who said it was going to be $150 per night, with the magic words “private spa pool”. Suddenly $150 seemed incredibly reasonable and after a quick discussion we decided we’d worked very hard recently and we deserved a proper break :)

Rotorua is famous for its geothermal activity so we checked in and had a lovely warm bath in the mineral spa which is naturally nearly 40 degrees. The next morning we went to explore the volcanic valley:

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And ended up having a lakeside lunch

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It looks like the end of the world: steam rising up from rocks – not just in the designated geothermal parks but also next to the motorway, in people’s gardens, next to the supermarket…it was amazing

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THIS AMAZING.

Sadly the pay off for all the beauty was the egg smell, but I am glad we took the opportunity to take the mickey out of each other for farting continuously throughout the weekend, it made us feel a little less old considering we’d essentially come on a voluntary geology field trip and Craig had just bought a jumper with leather elbow patches…

The next day we got up early and went to see the other main geothermal site in the area. It was hugely foggy which just made things better because you couldn’t see where the steam ended and the sky began – it was basically like being in Jurassic Park. We were a bit early so detoured down a little route which looked exciting and ended up seeing a mud pool which we had all to ourselves:

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But the piece de resistance was the park itself – as we got there so early we had it all to ourselves and it was stunning. The colours, smells, sounds of the steam and mud boiling were unreal. From the tiniest things

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To the weirdest things

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it was sublime. Made all the better for having it to ourselves with only the little fantails and finches for company.

Craig developed a worrying love of bridges

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Hopefully with the right medication he’ll be alright in time.

We even got to see a geyser erupt – the area used to be inhabited by prisoners a hundred years ago (after the massive volcano erupted which has resulted in the geothermal parks) and they found by accident whilst doing their washing that soap in the hot water triggered a chain reaction which meant the ground exploded:

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Before

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During

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After

After all the excitement we were a little disappointed to go home but luckily our sat nav decided to play tour guide on the way home and took us on the most random route…down country lanes, over rivers and streams and through little villages so it wasn’t too taxing. And to top it all off we arrived home to find a package from Joy at home containing beers, sweets, nibbles and insanely hot sauce (she knows me so well). Couldn’t have wished to have a better time!

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2 Responses to “Best. Weekend. Ever.”

  1. wheresphil 3 June 2013 at 8:27 pm #

    Glad you are enjoying NZ, such a cool place to look around :)

    • To australia the long way 4 June 2013 at 7:50 am #

      It is, and it was nice to finally get a chance to see something other than Wellington for a change! I think you could spend a month in Rotorua there’s so much to do but the little bit we did see was lovely :)

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