Despite its stink, we really like Rotorua. It stood out as being such a friendly place on our last trip, and we knew that the Central Backpackers would be a nice relaxing stop to get over our jetlag and adjust to the kiwi weather! The family that own the hostel are so welcoming, and it was easy to walk everywhere from there.
We explored the thermal park, where I enjoyed a free hot spring to soak my feet in. Some lovely person on the plane had shared their cold/flu germs with me so I felt pretty rubbish for those first few days; it was nice to relax (and with a blocked nose I could barely notice the smell).
Other highlights at Rotorua were the night market, where we found amazing chocolate brownie. If I look excited by this in the photo below, it’s because I was. The only good brownie I managed to find during our stay in Nepal was ruined slightly when I found a long hair baked into the middle. Blegh.
We also enjoyed walking around the lakefront, where there were several raised trails through steaming pits, and also a beautiful Maori village.
The highlight of our stay in the Bay of Plenty though, was when we hired a car (rent a dent :p) and headed north on the long way round to The Shire.
We found the world’s largest kiwi fruit statue, which was fun but I was disappointed to find that the shop did not actually sell any gold kiwis (the best) because they had all been sent to the supermarkets.
We stopped off at Papamoa Beach and Tauranga to stretch our legs and enjoy some coffee.
And then it was finally time to head to Matamata, a teeny little town with an i-site straight out of Middle Earth. There wasn’t much to see there to be honest, and so we left pretty quickly to our final destination: Hobbiton!