Saturday, February 5, 2011

Day 12: Rotorua to Napier via Taupo

Day 12: Rotorua to Napier via Taupo

Department of further clarification: With drinks, the Maori dinner/show was $190.

NZ Fact: European 69.8%, Maori 7.9%, Asian 5.7%, Pacific islander 4.4%, other 0.5%, mixed 7.8%, unspecified 3.8% (2001 census); based on our observation, Auckland is now well over 10% Asian, and in the downtown area where we saw lots of students, maybe 20% or more.

Pictures: Smoking kills sign immediately above cigarettes for sale, in and around the Tongariro National Park hike to Taranaki Falls, and the gateway to the Pacific Ocean outside our hotel.

The weather in Rotorua continues hot and humid.

Sophie makes us bacon and French toast with fresh fruit for breakfast (included). We pack up and leave around 9am. They have been very gracious hosts, easy to talk to about local issues and customs that we can’t learn about (easily) in books, and have made us feel like part of the family. Of course, since we clearly aren’t farmers, the part of the family we belong to is “city folk.”

Now we are on the road to Taupo and driving around huge Lake Taupo, very pretty, to end up at Tongagiro National Park. The top day hike in NZ is the Tongariro Crossing, 10 miles of spectacularly changing scenery through a region known for its volcanoes.

Unfortunately, it is basically an all day affair and requires portage back to the end you start at (it is too long to do an up and back hiking) and pretty much means a two night commitment. Plus it is a three hour drive from just about anywhere to get to one end or the other.

So, we settle for the Taranaki Falls hike, a much more manageable 2 hours with lunch in front of the Falls (see the pics of us in front of the falls and the crowds that were there around 1pm). The weather, for once, is very good, in the 60s and low humidity, a rare pleasure. The hike is great, long vistas (like in Patagonia), well groomed trails, and an excellent choice.

Picnic is the same as yesterday: leftover salads, water, a few local apples (not good, it is really too early for apples), and trail mix brought all the way from Trader Joes: $5.

Our first fill-up: $65 for a Toyota Corolla!!!

Another near 3 hour drive, a portion back around Lake Taupo, and we are in Napier, on the east coast of the North Island. It is a beach town, lots of beach-friendly motels, and we are staying at the Nautilus, right across from the ocean (see pic of the gateway), and THB takes a well-deserved dip (Boys Dips only $3?), very refreshing. And, the only spot to be refreshed as the heat and humidity have once again climbed the charts!

Dinner at Shed 2 (not, we think, related to Shed, where we get our haircut in E-ville): green lipped muscles in tomato sauce, fish and chips, salads, two glasses of the local Sauvignon Blanc (pretty good!) and THB has a draft beer (most restaurants only serve bottled beer), total $60.


  1. Napier & Hawkes Bay = winetasting. On a Good Friday once, our Kiwi friends - but not we - were surprised to find only one open winery. If you're there only briefly, a quick google suggests as a wino venue.

  2. Tasting has worked out to be pretty simple: show up btwn 10am and 4 at anywhere that doesn't say it's closed...and you're tasting away! We're not applying much science to it, fortunately K&G led the way near Greytown, along with the Tutu girls