It’s finally mid-semester break, signalling the long-awaited two weeks of pseudo-holiday that we’ve been longing for – before this semester even began. The boy and I just got back from our half-secret trip to Rotorua yesterday, and it’s no surprise that I’ve taken hundreds of photos that took forever to sort out. It’s been three of the most relaxing, beautiful and unforgettable days of my life, spent with the most unforgettable person I know. I can’t wait to get my films developed so I can see the rest of my photos! And I also can’t wait to do something like this again… summer, please don’t be too long.
Photo diary with chronological commentary:
We stayed in a log cabin for the first night. Since I accidentally (stupidly) revealed to Daniel a couple of weeks ago as to where we were going, I’m glad I’ve managed to keep the more special parts secret – where we are staying, precisely. It was definitely worth the effort just to see the delighted look on his face as we drove up to the cabin and stepped inside – we’d been talking about wanting to stay in a “log cabin” for a while now, so I’m glad that it’s turned out to be exactly what we were after. It was the coziest, cutest thing – perfect.
The boy setting the GPS, before we had quite figured out where things were in Rotorua.
Luggage. Mostly consisting of towels and cameras.
We decided to visit the Polynesian Spa first, and this was the view we spent our first afternoon with. A worthwhile $21.50 for the Adult Pools, albeit the all rude staring men (and some asian girls that followed me around with their eyes). Where Daniel exercised territorial glances and I translated the ridiculous conversations of self-righteous Chinese tourists who decided it would be okay to include me in their conversational topics, without realising that, yes indeed, I may just understand every single word.
There were a lot of seagulls as the Spas looked out over Sulphur Bay.
The stunning view that the 41C spa had – if only that spa had been cooler, we wouldn’t have had to sit on the edge the whole time, whilst I got chilly shoulders and mozzie bites!
The golden, hard-to-pry-for-a-photo smile.
He took a photo of me, taking a photo of him.
The aforementioned spa. It was the most crowded one, as it had the best view.
View from where we bought burgers and fries for dinner.
Eating dinner, lakeside, with the last fading rays of sunset.
Back inside the cabin, where we devoured Shingle Peak Reisling and chocolate biscuits.
We woke up the next morning to a shock score of Arsenal losing 8-2 to Man U. And spent much of the next couple of days returning to “OH MY GOD I CAN’T BELIEVE THAT HAPPENED!!! EIIIGHT-TWOOO!!!”
We brought a pot of dumplings to cook for breakfast… but the fridge kind of froze the pot.
Locking up the cabin.
This was an absolute failure of a stove. Several attempts and a change of stoves later, we finally cooked the dumplings.
Back to the cabin we go…
…with rather destroyed-looking dumplings.
Trying to eat with a plastic spoon.
The dumplings were all mushy and stuck together because they had been sitting in warm water for far too long, before the stove decided to heat up enough to achieve boiling point.
All packed up and ready to leave. I miss this cabin already.
At Hell’s Gate Thermal Reserve.
Kakahi Falls, “the largest natural hot waterfalls in the southern hemisphere”.
Unsuspecting photo by the generous camera-bag holder.
The landscape was so desolate and other-worldly and we loved every minute of it. Also, thanks largely to my photographing ways and knack for pointing out and staring at every nook and cranny, we stayed much longer than the prescribed 45-ish minutes for the walk.
At first we complained that it was cloudy and the weather wasn’t great, but then we decided that it made everything look far more volcanic and appropriate.
Another unsuspecting photo taken by the boy.
Black mud. Really, really hot stuff.
More hot stuff. Haha.
I think I like this one the best.
And then I attacked with a flick of the scarf.
The “steamy photo” of the boy. We had a bit of a misunderstanding about that phrase later on… haha. I made this photo black and white because I think it makes it look far better. I also took photos on black and white film, but I won’t get to see them for a while yet. Well worth paying $30 to enter the reserve, just to get this photo.
Apparently this mud volcano is still growing…
Playing with the grey mud that we were allowed (and recommended) to touch. It felt really good on the skin, too.
Instead of visiting the Red Woods, we hit up Hamurana Springs instead – where the water was clear and purely amazing!
Makes me think of the Forbidden Forest. I’ve always preferred “forests” over “bush”, but New Zealand is mostly covered with bush – that’s why I enjoyed this so much. Although it was largely a blend of the two.
Yet another unsuspecting photo of me and my red scarf.
One of my favourite photos ever. It looks really constructed and cropped, but that’s just how the camera happened to drop onto the tree stump that I set the self timer onto.
The head of the spring, which is the largest in the North Island. It’s approximately 15m deep, and can you believe this thing has about 4,500,000 litres of water flowing out of it every hour?!
Don’t fall in.
View from above.
Late lunch at Thirty1Five Restaurant.
$10 Beef Nachos – sooo delicious and incredible value for money. I think for the first time in my life I had more ingredients than I had chips to scoop it up with!
King Spa Deluxe Room I got a deal for at the Rydges Hotel. The boy looking pretty pleased with himself…
…and pretty pleased with the fact that we then got to watch the football highlights on Sky Sports.
Post-swim complimentary drinks at the Mezz Bar in the hotel. The bartender had just shut down the bar and was delighted that we made his job easy with 2x Monteiths orders.
The next morning we rocked up to our free buffet breakfast at 10am, only to discover that the buffet shuts at 10am. Luckily they let us fill our plates with as much food as possible, before they cleared the buffet away. Won’t make that mistake next time!
The morning after.
We decided to go for a walk around Sulphur Bay – the bay that the Polynesian Spas had looked out on.
Sort of didn’t exactly “stay on the footpath” as signs had warned. The idea of DANGER DANGER was too exciting. Plus, how often to you get to check out boiling pools of water in the ground?!
The whole bay was steaming.
At the Government Gardens.
Me being ruining a perfectly good photo, haha.
Car ride home.
The corrugated iron sheep at Tirau.
Fucking amazing trip. The End.