What an awesome Easter break we had! In New Zealand, everyone gets Good Friday and Easter Monday off which meant a 4 day weekend trip for us. We headed south to Rotorua on Friday morning along with at least half of Auckland. Seriously, the trip was supposed to take 3 hours but took 4 due to traffic on the way out of town. But we made it to Rotorua in time to explore the lake and some of the geothermal spots. We saw steaming springs, boiling mud, and sniffed in the sulphur air. We also discovered that New Zealand literally shuts down on Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Almost everything is closed including grocery stores and most restaurants. We did find a fun place for dinner in town, the Pig & Whistle.
|Steaming Spring in the Government Gardens|
|They are serious!|
|Boiling Mud Pool|
|It is the end of the world as we know it.....|
|The Pig & Whistle|
On Saturday we headed out early for our white water rafting and sledging adventure. I will leave that for another post but we had a great time and were so exhausted I think we went to bed at 9! On Sunday, we made a quick trip back to the river we rafted on to get some pictures and explore the river gorge. We then dropped by the Whakarewarewa Forest for a picnic lunch and short hike. The Whakarewarewa Forest is a redwood forest near Rotorua with numerous hiking and mountain biking trails. We took a nice hike through the forest and then up to a lookout with views of the lake. We had a great dinner in town Sunday night at a cute, little Italian place and even made friends with the Australian couple at the table next to us. We camped out for the first time on Sunday night near Blue Lake outside of Rotorua (details in an upcoming post).
|Most of the time I have to ask Justin to take my picture and force the camera into his hand....in this one, he actually said, "turn around and I'll take your picture"! A true memory.|
|The waterfall we rafted down! We think it almost looks fake, like a ride at Disney World.|
|View of Lake Rotorua from our hike|
|Is he contemplating life or just resting from the uphill hike?|
|The lush forest|
On Monday, we drove home via "the scenic route"....it actually was the scenic route but I put it in quotes because we kept calling it the scenic route with hand quotes. We visited a few beaches on the way home and a lookout over a quarry. It was a great weekend and we can't wait for our next longish excursion!
|Beach shot on the drive home near Tuaranga|