We spent the last week in Rotorua until Friday and then in Auckland. It was our last week in the North Island, and I think we did it pretty well.

On Tuesday, in Rotorua, we did one of those touristic things that we had to do: go to eat a traditional Maori hangi. We asked around which was the best place to go and everyone told us about Tamaki Maori Village. It costed 105$NZ (more or less 60 €) and it included the bus to the place, show, dinner. Well, for us was way too touristic. It was nice to see, nice to try it, but I don’t think it was worth it at all. Anyway we had to do it, it was a matter of once in a lifetime.

 

Hangi

On Wednesday we had an awesome present from our hosts: a voucher to do… RAFTING! Incredible! So on Tuesday afternoon we went to river Kaituna and got ready for it. Before starting I was quite scared, well, a lot, but once we were in the boats I realized that I could just enjoy it. And I did. It was sooo much fun!! We went down a 7 meter waterfall!! unfortunately I have no evidence that I was there, so you’ll have to trust Marina and my own word.

On Friday we took a bus back to Auckland for the last time. But before that we had to say good-bye in Rotorua to lots of friends: our dearests hosts Dennis and Catherine, Molly and Jack the cats, Simba the dog, the three cows and Jamon and Fuet the pigs.

 

Me and the cows
Me and the pigs

So on Friday afternoon we arrived back to Auckland. Last weekend in Auckland! After two months it was for sure our last weekend in the city. And we decided making from it the best one too.

On Friday night Marina and I went to the Lantern Festival to celebrate the Chinese New Year. Really beautiful to see, but incredibly crowded. Anyway, the food was yummy and the karaoke was hilarious.

 

Me and the penguins

After that we went with Marty for some drinks and came home early. Saturday was the market day. We discovered (well done! the last weekend!) that there are lots of markets going every Saturday in Auckland, obviously with kiwi timing: so they close pretty early. We only could make it to the French Market, which was sort of mediterranean food market with lots of things that we have been missing, they even had paella!

Then it was time to say good-bye to our favourite streets. So we went shopping to K’Road and Ponsonby. My collection of vintage dresses has increased again… te he he. And in the evening we went with Marty and Jai to have dinner to a Japanese restaurant and then for some drinks. Every time I hang out with those guys I have the same feeling: it seems I know them for ages. It still impresses me how some people can make you feel so relaxed, so at home.

Sunday was our day to get organized for the trip to South Island. And we went again to the Lantern Festival to see the fireworks. As you all can see, I’ve been very lazy taking pictures this week, but it was really beautiful.

And… well, the last weekend in Auckland was over.

After 5 hours in a bus (without stopping at all. we were about to kill the driver!), Marina and I arrived to Rotorua: the sulphur city. The guys and Lonely Planet already advised us about the smell, but it´s something that you have to smell by yourself. Rotorua is located in one of the most dynamic thermal areas (is actually really close to Taupo), so the air, loaded with sulphur, has a weird eggy smell. I would even say like rotten eggs… Despite its smell, Rotorua is a really nice town with geysers, steaming hot springs and mud pools.

cows

We came here for another help-x experience. We met Dennis and Catherine, who live in the small town of Ngongotaha in a house with 2 pigs (baptized as Fuet and Jamon by Marina), 3 cows, 2 cats and 1 dog. And lots of wild pukekos all around! Through the whole week they were just awesome with us. In exchange for painting and helping with the garden, we had the chance to know a bit more of their culture, and about their area.

Marina had the chance to drive for the first time a kiwi car: on the left side. And although the first minutes were quite scary for the both of us, after a while she got used. And, like in Barcelona, she is also a really good driver here. Thanks to Dennis’ car we could do a trip around the lake and go south to visit the Tarawera lake, the Blue lake and the Wai-o-tapu hot pools. A secret: usually people pay to have a bath in the hot pools, but exactly like in Taupo, locals know places where you can do it for free.

In Rotorua city we were really impressed for lots of things. First of all, is the first kiwi city where there´s actually people walking in the center, moreover, there is a city center! We also saw lots of Backpackers places and tourists, this is clearly a really touristic spot. Another thing is the 35% of Maori population. And the less expected: architecture! Yes, New Zealand is not specially famous for its architecture. But in Rotorua they have the Rotorua Museum (former club, seriously), a quite nice building surrounded by the elegant Government Gardens.

Rotorua museum

During the weekend Catherine and Dennis took us to visit more stuff. So we went to buy some veggies and have a look to a flea market on Saturday (by the way, kiwis call capsicum the paprika). We also visited Kuirau park, the hot pools area with a nice and free foot pool. The mud pools are quite scary, and locals say that dangerous too. But they don´t seem to care about its danger a lot, I have to say.

capsicum

mud pool

On Sunday we went to a Maori church. Amazing building, again. Unfortunately I couldn´t take pictures inside.

We also had time during the week to get ready for a wedding we are attending next Monday in Auckland. So, thanks to Marina, I can have some head pieces again! Yeah! For those you don’t know me personally: in Spain I wear head pieces almost everyday, I’m totally obsessed with them, but unfortunately a luggage limit didn´t allow me to bring lots of them for the trip. So, I’m really happy with them and I have something nice for the wedding (not the one in the picture, it’s a surprise!).

 

head pieces in construction

first of marina's masterpieces!