We drove to a lot of different places and each one are spectacular in their own way. The natural beauty of NZ is no joke and I’m so glad I’m on this trip. It will be an unforgettable experience.
Also, once we got to Tairua, I can finally tell the difference between Australian and Kiwi’s accent! It’s so noticeable and there were times when I could not understand some words but communication was no problem! I guess we just had to get out of the city!!!!
Day 3: Mount Eden & One Tree Hill
Inactive volcanoes and I can’t believe that NZ has so many of these all within a few kms between each other! But we walked up to the top (good exercise and warm up before our big hike in a few days) and basked in the beautiful sight!
Ensure you were comfortable walking shoes. I did trek up the hills in my thongs but I think I would’ve been more comfortable in my birkenstocks. But I’m still alive 🙂
top: taken from Mount Eden
bottom: taken from One Tree Hill
The 360 view was breathtaking and I wished I could roll down to the center because the grass is so lush! But then again, tall grasses are dangerous as there might be snakes here 🤭
Afterwards, we drove for a while to our next lodge at Tairua. We actually wasted half an hour because we turned the wrong way and went back up to Auckland before we realized it was the wrong way hahas. The road signs here can be misleading and a lot of them are pointing to the wrong direction. Just make sure that you have a GPS!
The beach lodge we stayed at was very pretty and the owners were very helpful! We quickly checked in and transferred our bags into the room before making our way to a nearby restaurant for food!
Cathedral Cove & Hahei Beach
After filling ourselves up with delicious meals, we drove straight to the big carpark near Hahei Beach and started our hike to Cathedral Cove. The overall walk from the car park took around 30-40mins (one way). Time flies by quickly and you will be astounded by the beauty of the natural landscape. We spent some time at the beach, taking photos of the infamous cove and playing with the waves before making our way back to the car park. We were definitely in a rush today because we want to make it in time for the…
Hot Water Beach!
This beach was the highlight of my trip so far! It was crowded but we were lucky to have found a good spot where someone has previously dug out the hot water!
We still got a shovel from our lodge to dig a bit deeper and it was fun that we get to create our own personal hot tub!
It was relaxing and I was so amazed! I can’t believe that steaming hot water exists on the beach! It felt like I was at the spa!
We left just before it got to high tide as the waves were creeping towards us quickly. I hope that I can come here again!
Day 4: TairuaI woke up early at 5:50am to watch the sunrise from our lodge. It was beautiful but unfortunately, the big clouds hid its massive entrance 😦
Anyways, we walked to the local shops to buy some free range eggs, cheese and bacon buns, and baked beans for breakfast! Their baked beans are so good!!!!! And their buns was freshly made from the oven!!!
Lovely meal which gave us the energy to pack our bags and ready to go to…
Short stopover for us to rest and stretch our legs before we moved on to our next destination. We explored the town for a while, visiting the old gold mine, window shopped at local markets and shops as well as COFFEE!
It was exciting to have the landscape view of the big lake as we made our way into the heart of the city. But…that pungent smell …smells like rotten eggs! It’s strong and the image below perfectly sums up what I’ve been feeling.
e smell got even stronger near our motel but thank goodness the smell did not linger inside. After checking in, we got ready to go out again for our next trek.
We drove a while before we arrived at our destination to Karangahake. Already there are lots of tourists around but before we start our trek, it is time for lunch.
And so we made our way to the cafe opposite the carpark where it wasted a lot of our time.
After lunch, we began our trek over wobbly bridges (they’re safe), pebbles and rocky trails and even went through the long old railway tunnel (pictured bottom right).
Okere Falls Scenic Reserve
We also went to the Okere Falls Scenic Reserve where we went through a moderate hiking track to some historical sites and waterfalls – pretty beautiful and this is where they do kayaking and water sports.
Last and behold, our final destination of the day – ROTORUA. We checked into our motel which is located right in the heart of the city. The manager there was helpful and provided us good recommendations on what we should see and go to. Also gave us a 10% voucher for Waikite Thermal Spa.
After making sure we got our stuff into our rooms, we drove out for dinner. Lots of people were out tonight and the town was vibrant with chatter. We picked a Thai restaurant to eat at as it looked like it would be good (plenty of people seated already). I think I will write up a review and link it here later.