Auckland to Rotorua

It’s funny to have to come to a motel in NZ to see our first bit of the Winter Olympics. We can’t get Channel 7 at home so have missed all the action, apart from the headlines on Ch 2 news. So last night when we got to the motel we watched for awhile before sinking into the beautiful bed at the Bucklands Beach Motel. http://www.waterfrontchalets.co.nz

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Feeling refreshed we woke to brilliant blue skies and warm temperatures, so set off around the bay towards the Marina for breakfast. Such a lovely walk passing the fit, the fast on cycles, the strollers, the standup paddle boarders and a few swimmers in the bay.
We reached the Marina with a big collection of yachts with the usual assortment of funny names.
Realising we wouldn’t make it back to the motel for our pick up by the Wilsons and Parkers we sent out an SOS to come to the Marina. It really was an SOS because on arrival in NZ I haven’t been able to get a carrier to get phone reception. I can get onto wifi though –  so fortunately could send a message via whatsapp.
They collected us, we picked up our luggage and we were on our way in convoy towards Rotorua.
It’s such a pretty drive. NZ really has such lush green rolling hills and mountains.
You can see how much rain they have had.
We stopped for lunch near Hobbiton House in Matamata. A lovely little town.


Then another hour and we arrived in Rotorua.

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First impressions. Yes a little smelly but not overpowering!
Lovely big trees down the Main Streets. Spa baths scattered around the town and some really lovely buildings. And lots of timber. The areas surrounding here are heavily treed so there’s no shortage of timber.

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We walked to the lake, past the Museum which is closed due to renovations, strolled past statues to famous New Zealanders (not Rugby players)

We even saw the black swans.

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Dinner was at the Brew Bar – one of the lively places lining the Street called Eat St.

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Kim, David and Steve on the hunt for a good wine!

Its a great place full of bars and restaurants and is loud and noisy and has an array of craft beers and good NZ wines.

Not wanting to have a big night before our swim we strolled back to our hotel and drew the curtains trying to keep the sulphate smell outside.

Tomorrow morning we’ll visit the Living Maori  Village and check out the geysers before heading to the Blue Lake to see David finish his 3.5 km Swim, and then wait for my Swim to take off at 1.30.

Ki Ora: welcome to New Zealand

779B8097-8378-4664-9069-39BCCF08BE45We love our mini breaks and visiting our swim trek friends in NZ is one of our favourites.
For the past few years we have taken the easy 3 hour flight on Emirates’ 380 to Auckland to meet up with Kim & David Parker. We travel with our friends Chris & Jill Wilson and started the journey with Moët at the airport. It may only be 7.30am but it’s a great way to start our holiday.
We landed at around 3 pm picked up our hire car and headed towards Mellons Bay where Kim & David have a lovely home with spectacular views across their garden to the water.

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This year the Wilsons are staying with them in the house and due to shortage of rooms it was our turn  to book into a nearby motel at Buckland’s Beach. It’s such a pretty spot we’ll look forward to a walk around the bay tomorrow.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon and evening sharing lovely NZ wines, a wonderful tapas plate and lots of chat and laughs.

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Swimming has taken us to many places around the world and made us many new friends. We swam with the Parkers & Wilsons in Greece in 2014 and so we started our little mini breaks to ‘ have a swim’ followed by a bit of sightseeing in a different party of the country.
Last year we swam in Pahia (look back at those posts) and visited the Bay of Islands. The year before a local swim in Auckland followed by the Coromandel Peninsula.

This year we are swimming the Blue Lake near Rotorua. We’re very excited as lake swimming is beautiful. The downside is that our party of swimmers is decreasing due to injury or illness. Steve has a shoulder problem requiring an op in a few weeks. Kim has an eye problem after having had a detached retina. Jill has had stitches in her head and can’t go in the water and Chris has a heavy cold. So it looks like David & I! If I can fit into the wet suit!

So stay tuned for news of our adventures as we drive south to Rotorua – city of smells!