Friday, November 22, 2013

Down Under - Day 12

As you may have noticed, we are keeping busy and on the move. This makes finding time to be online a little difficult, so I am bringing to you the rest of the day before as well as today, now that we have now made it down to Wellington. After Hobbiton, we stopped in Matamata for some lunch at Workman's Cafe Bar. I had a lovely egg, cheese and tomato sandwich and Brian had a taco salad. We then drove the hour back to Rotorua and stopped by OGO Rotorua so that Brian could take a few trips down a hill in a big inflatable ball with enough water inside that he stayed upright for most of the ride.



Sorry for the dumb vertical filming; and, in case you were concerned, I don't really think that being born is gross.

After that adventure (which I skipped due to having to be zipped inside the ball and not having my swimsuit), we headed to the Redwoods forest which was right around the corner from our B&B.
Although it seems an odd mix of tropical palm trees, evergreens and redwoods, the forest is beautiful and a lovely walk after being in the car for most of the day. There are several trails of varying lengths that are well maintained. We opted for the 30 minute loop, which only took about 15 minutes.
We decided to have dinner at Bistro 1284 which is famed for its beef and lamb. I had the red snapper (foreground) and Brian had the rack of lamb. The main entrees were very good but the desserts (which the guidebook had praised) left a lot to be desired and at NZ$18 each, were very overpriced.
After dinner, we headed to Hells Gate because it sounded so romantic - kidding! I had always wanted to try hot springs and mud baths and we got both here under the stars. We went late enough that there were only four other people there. It was interesting but I am not sure I will get the sulfur smell off me, ever.
On our way to our next destination, Wellington, we stopped at Wai-O-Tapu to see the geyser and the different geothermal wonders along a short hike. The place was packed and the sulfur smell gave me a bit of a headache but it was worth seeing.
 The rest of the day was spent driving the six hours down to the Southern part of the North Island. We checked into the only hotel we are staying at this trip, The Bolton Hotel.
We walked over to Chow for a yummy dinner of Asian fusion tapas - (seven spice tofu, blue cheese and peanut wontons, five spice curry, and coconut prawn dumplings). There wasn't a bite left when we were done. After dinner we walked around a little night market and sat in a bar waiting on some music to start. When it did, we wished it hadn't, so we headed for bed.

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