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Day 8 – East Coast leading to Rotorua

October 23, 2012

It was a rather dull and cold morning when we eventually got up. We could take our time today as the  journey time was less than 4hrs so no need to get up too early. We wrote some postcards last evening so the first task after breakfast was to stop off at the local post office to post them. We are not great postcard writers and normally Brenda would write them but his time I did, with a little help of course!!!

We planned to arrive at Mt Maunganui on the east coast around lunch time so we could take a walk up the hill (232m) that is at the end of a sandy peninsula. We travelled through some stunning areas and once again traversed up and down some steep and winding passes, a feature of NZ. Our first planned stop was to be Whangamata which is supposed to be one of the best surfing beaches in NZ. So you can imagine my disappointment when we arrived to be greeted with barely a ripple of surf. There was me ready to unleash my surfing skills to the watching public! It was not to be so we drove on to Waihi Beach where again it is the scene for good surfing. Sadly not today as it was just as bad there with little surf and what was more, it had started to rain again!!!

So on to Mt Maunganui to woud be. To get there required us to go through Tauranga, a booming city which is one of the fastest growing in NZ. It is home to a a busy port which has oil terminals, and massive coal and wood storage. Imagine our surprise that on driving out the other side of the port in to Mt Maunganui which is rather chic and has fabulous cafes and bars all along the waterfront.

As it was raining and rather blustery we opted to eat in one of the cafes. We enjoyed a rather delicious butternut pumpkin soup washed down with a little bit of local vino. As the weather had not improved we decided to give the walk up the hill a miss as set off for Rotorua. Our journey took us through a number of gorges so once again some interesting driving up and down some very steep and winding roads. We arrive in Rotorua mid-afternoon just as the skies were clearing and some sun was peeking through, a bit of warmth thankfully.

After settling in we decided to take a walk around this home of sulpher-rich and dynamic thermal area and home to a number of spurting geysers, hot springs and exploding mud pools. Rororua is one of the most important Maori areas with 35% of the population being Maori. It is often known as sulphur city because of the ‘eggy’ odour which is around much of the time. Our walk took us through some of these areas, though we plan to be here for a few days to explore and experience what the area has to offer. However our walk did take us through a park where thermal springs abound. The air was think with that ‘eggy’ smell and as Brenda remarked every time we eat eggs or smell them we will be reminded of our time in NZ lol!

The site we are staying at has 2 mineral pools which we are going to try our as soon as I am finished writing this blog. So I think I shall close for now ….. bye!!!

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