A quick stop at Waitomo which was a bit of a dissapointment coming from Slovenia and seeing the sad replica of our caves. I did the cheap version of exploring their glowworms, because it was just to much for my budget to spend another 200$ for caving adrenalin (others who did, said it was amazing!). Well my experience was much different. We had a tour guide with a voice of a TV-presenter on crack. We saw a mini cave which continued with a little boat “ride” standing still in one place for 10 min… Yes that was a 40$ tour.
All in all Waitomo’s eco-tourism and caving adventures are associated with its world famous limestone caves. For the adventurous there’s cave abseiling or rappelling, Black Water Rafting and caving adventures as mentioned before. We stayed at the KiwiPaka Waitomo, where the rooms were ok, but the showers outrageous (dirty and cold).
Next stop was Rotorua. Also a city that didn’t quite push the right buttons – maybe it was the weather or the unpleasant public bus driver or the smell of boiling eggs through the whole city, who knows. But still it has many things you can do there – Whether seeking to experience Maori culture, geothermal earth forces, spa, bike adventures, or any of the other natural assets such as 16 lakes, fantastic trout fishing and myriad forest walking tracks – Rotorua delivers it all. Since I had little time to spend there, I visited the Redwoods forest, which was just breathtaking and evening was reserved for the Tamaki Maori Village. We were welcomed into an authentic Maori village nestled in Rotorua forest, where we learnt and discovered Maori art forms, ancient rituals and traditions, experienced their scary but thrilling song and dance, and at the end shared the most amazing 3 course meal made in a Maori Hangi – Earth oven. The whole show was a bit sad to me and it felt quite massively popular, but still I learnt (and ate) a lot! 😉
In Rotorua I stayed at Base Backpackers – my first and last Base hostel in New Zealand! Noisy, dirty, expensive, soulless – Stay away from Base!