A few days in we decided to hop on a tour bus operated by the Kiwi Experience. It’s a bus a lot of young people take to see as much of the country as you can. Our bus takes us from Auckland to Wellington with numerous stops in between.
I haven’t quite made it to Wellington yet but, right now I am in the small town of Taupo, smack in the middle of the north island. We have a two days to enjoy the town but every other stop has been a one day stop each. It’s been quick and a little hectic but very entertaining.
First stop was Hot Water Beach, where I did three hours of kayaking in the ocean through Cathedral Cove experiencing some of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. Everything looked like a painting. After kayaking we finally went on over to Hot Water Beach where we dug holes in the sand making our own hot pool.
Next stop was Waitomo which is probably my favorite stop so far. “Wai” means water and “tomo” means hole in the native Maori language and that basically what we did. We spent five hours exploring caves where these glowing maggots called glowworms reside. We zip lined and went tubing through the cave. Crawled through narrow passages and finally climbed waterfalls to find our exit. It was probably the coolest thing I had ever done.
From Waitomo we traveled to Rotarua, the Maori culture capital of New Zealand. Before arriving at Rotarua, we stopped at “The Shire” or also known as Hobbiton. This was the movie set for the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films, but I thought it was so much more than just a movie set. The level of detail put into this place was astounding. The movie crew created an entire village with over 30 hobbit homes and various gardens. The movie tour ended with a stop at The Green Dragon pub where we all enjoyed a pint before leaving for Rotorua.
Our time in Rotorua was much more relaxed. We spent the evening learning about the native Maori tribe. All our groups had assigned chiefs who participated in a short presentation of Maori tribe warriors sizing them up and determining whether we had come for war or for peace. I was able to briefly partake in learning the “Haka” which is a war cry dance before the Maori’s fnally treated us to a Polynesian style dinner. Chicken and Lamb looked in the ground. Potatoes, Oysters, and Fish. Absolutely delicious.
So far the Kiwi Experience has been exciting. The majority of people on the bus seem to be English followed by the second largest group being German. There seem to be only three Americans on our bus. I did expect some hostility for my nationality, everyone turned out to be very friendly.
I was hoping that the Kiwi bus would consist of more people who first began their travels in New Zealand but this was not the case. There were already groups on the bus who had been traveling the Island for sometime and cliques had already been made. It was a little more difficult to make friends then I hoped.
Only a few more days until we arrive in Wellington.