Rotorua - Day 1

Trip Start Jul 06, 2012
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2
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Trip End Nov 14, 2012


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Where I stayed

Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Saturday, July 7, 2012

In the morning, we all jumped on the bus and started our 3 hour journey to Rotorua. They always tended to keep us entertained by giving us history and information of New Zealand culture, so it was nice getting to know things about the country we are living in for the next 4+ months. It was hard not to fall asleep at times (some of us threw on our sunglasses and pretended to stay awake..) because of the jet lag mixed with the constant rate at which we were moving, but watching the landscape go by as we drove along was incredible. After about 2 hours of driving, we stopped in a town called Matamata. Matamata is also known as Hobbiton...yes, from Lord of the Rings - (http://www.hobbitontours.com/hobbiton-movie-set-and-farm-tours/matamata_idl=11_idt=2015_id=11975_.html ). We didn't go on any tours or anything because 1) we only had 45 minutes to grab some lunch before continuing to Rotorua and 2) apparently it is very expensive. Anyways, it was a very small town so there was one main strip with little shops and restaurants. We found some sort of bakery/deli type thing and I decided to try my first meat pie since they had been so highly recommended to us. I was a little afraid to try the mince meat pie right away, so I went for a chicken one and it was absolutely delicious! It was like a mini pot pie, so it was pretty filling - and cheap! 

Sidenote: We have all quickly realized that prices in New Zealand for a lot of things are much more expensive than in the States so even though the exchange rate is slightly in our favor, it doesn't mean much in the long run. It's kind of hard to find any meal for less than $10, most household necessities and toiletries are way pricier than they are at home, and drinks and alcohol are ridiculously expensive. Let's just say the cheapest nail polish I have found so far costs $20...No wonder minimum wage here is around $13. In New Zealand, there are many food shops which are called 'take-aways' rather than a lot of conventional, sit-down restaurants. They are like little hole-in-the-wall places where you just order at the window and get it to-go, kind of like an ice cream shop but for literally all kinds of food. Some are dumpy as you can imagine, but there are also lots that are pretty nice! 

Once we ate, we just walked around and checked out the Hobbiton gift shop along with some other little stores. Then, it was back on the bus to Rotorua to check out the Agrodome. After we arrived, the next few hours consisted of sheep, sheep, more sheep, trout, kiwi birds, and lizards called tuatara. Basically, we got to pet baby sheep at the Agrodome and then one of the sheep shearers put on a show for us by introducing us to all the different species and then shearing one right in front of us. As weird and kind of dull as that sounds, it was actually really interesting and very entertaining...we all definitely laughed quite a bit. We also watched a border collie herd some of the sheep which was cool because it reminded me so much of my dog, Java. He looks so much like them and it was interesting to see what he would have been doing if happened to be living on a farm in New Zealand...or anywhere I guess. I took him herding once last summer and he was a natural...now I know why! It made me miss him a lot though, for sure. Then we went to another little place about 10 minutes away and got a little guided tour through a place with the kiwi birds and some other animals that live in the area. After all of that, we finally made it to the part of Rotorua where our hotel was. We all got settled and a bunch of us got dinner and spent the rest of the evening hanging out together...watching Balto in the hotel room...


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