From Wellington we drove all the way up to Rotorua. On the way we spent one night at a campsite around Lake Taupo.
Rotorua is known for its geysers, mud pools and hot springs. The most famous one is the geyser Pohutu, which is the biggest geyser in the southern hemisphere that erupts up to 20 times a day! Unfortunately the geyser did not erupt when we visited the thermal reserve Te Puia, where the geyser is, but the nabouring geysers was quite active with water spurting several meters up in the air almost continously. The whole place was really interesting and we spent close to three hours just walking around between all the gleysers, mud pools, hot pools and streams.
In the afternoon we found a nice spot at the top 10 holiday park and relaxed for the rest of the day. The day after, Thursday, we spent the entire day doing pretty much nothing. We had breakfast at the local irish pub, which just happened to also be the local sports bar 😉 Martin watched Juventus play the champions league and I went for a walk around the city with Mai when it was time for her morning nap. Other than that we hung out in front of the camper or in the lounge room playing.
Friday we drove to the farmlands around Matamata, a peaceful and beautiful area with lush green hills and sheeps guarding the fences. Until 1998 it was just that and only local farmers drove around those hills, but then a guy called Peter Jackson discovered the area and decided to use the location for his movies…
The famous hobbit village that stars in the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies has been built into a permanent village for tourist purposes. We didn’t quite know what to expect, but we were both very pleasantly surprised. Yes, it was expensive, but everything is expensive in NZ. We were shown around in a group by a guide, telling us all sorts of interesting facts about the film set, how the movies were made and “behind the scenes” stories. The village itself was absolutely beautiful and you could really feel the atmosphere from the movies. It was peaceful, full of flowers, vegetables and small hobbit houses 🙂