Auckland via Rotorua and the Hot Springs
Trip Start Nov 16, 2005
36Trip End Apr 11, 2006
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After breakfast we sadly left Taupo and set off for Rotorua - our first impression was not good - too commercialised - too many fast food places and too many hotels (not nice ones either) and finally the smell of rotten eggs! There are many thermals spas and hot springs, hence the permanent smell of sulphur. In a nutshell, we had a very unfortunate experience with a most unhelpful clerk in the Visitors Centre - when we asked what to do and where to go she told us in no uncertain terms that she was not allowed to recommend anything and told us to go and look at a wall full of brochures and when we found something to let her know!! Needless to say, we were not impressed and went to another assistant to complain - she soon sorted us out. The bottom line is that you cannot go to any of the places on your own steam - you have to take a coach tour and most of them were very expensive or included things we did not want to do - so we decided to give them all a miss and headed out of town!
So, I cannot comment on any of the attractions in Rotorua. We travelled through the Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park over lots of gorges which were on the Ohinemuri River - the drop down on each side of this river was very steep. There is a walk-way through this gorge and hikers can be dropped off at either end of the route. Lots of thermal springs were visible along the way. We stopped off in Cambridge - a delightful, friendly little town - and had lunch at the Deli on the Corner.
We finally arrived in Auckland that evening and had arranged to meet Jason at his office at 6.30 pm. We got there at 6 pm after a battle through the traffic. We then followed Jason home - luckily we did - he lives in the Waitakere Ranges in a place called Piha. It is right on the west coast north of Auckland and about 45 mins. from the city. We would noever have found the place on our own especially at night - it was way up in the mountains looking down on the Tasman Sea - what a wonderful view of the sea and surf.
Jason's wife Dale and children Isaac and Liam were waiting for us to arrive and we all had dinner together. Jason worked in London with my daughter Siobhan and Dale did the make-up for Siobhan for her wedding! They also lived in Siobhan's flat in the UK for two years before they returned to live in NZ - their homeland. We slept well in the guest quarters on the deck of their house - what a wonderful setting - because of the pitch black at night we had a great view of the stars - saw the Milky way and the Plough and meteorites and shooting stars - Patrick Moore: eat your heart out!!