Rotorua-Matamata-Mt.Whanganui NZ – Adventure Day

It’s R’s birthday today! She’s 7! We decorated the RV last night after she went to sleep, with banners and balloons. Laying out her presents on the table. She was surprised by the extra little gifts. Then we lit the candle on her muffin and sang Happy Birthday to her.

We packed up then, and headed to Hells Gate Spa. It’s a Maori owned site for geothermal bathing. We first went into the mud bath for 20 minutes. Slathering ourselves with the magical healing mud. πŸ˜‰

They had us shower off and then we soaked in a sulfur pool as long as we liked. It was nice and warm and you got used to the smell after a bit. Not sure about all the health properties they claim but it was fun to try.

After we drove to Blue Springs. A walkway recommended to us by friends. It’s outside Putaruru, and not well signed. So we were surprised by the number of other visitors there. It was a walkway along side a beautiful river. Some rare ecosystem had created these incredible grasses and clear river water. That along with a few Redwoods made quite the walk. It goes for 12 kilometers, however Hobbiton was calling my name so we didn’t walk as long as we would have liked.

Hobbiton is about 45 minutes outside Rotorua. It is a total tourist trap, busing in people from the surrounding towns. But as a fan of the movies I had to go! You have to sign up for tour times when you get tickets. Apparently it’s smart to do this in advance. Thankfully we were able to get on one of the times for the day. You go in groups of approximately 40 on a bus. They drove us about 1.5k onto the game where the film company spent about $500 million creating Hobbiton across 12 acres. The buses drop you off with a tour guide and then they guide you around for an hour and a half. They allow 30 minutes at the end of the tour to enjoy a hard cider, a stout, or a ginger beer at the Green Dragon Inn. It felt a bit like being in a cattle herd at times. But totally worth it. The details put into each hobbit hole were beautiful. The effort put into creating this set is mind blowing. They even had the New Zealand army involved building the road through the farm. Ty’s now convinced he can build us a hobbit home out at the lake. I’d love it!

Here’s how Ty feels about tourists and large tour groups. πŸ˜†

It was about 4:30 when we finished the tour. There are really no towns nearby and R had requested Indian for her birthday dinner. So we decided to press on about 45 minutes to our next destination, Mt. Maunganui. Another location recommendation. We finally spotted an Indian restaurant about 6pm. The dinner took a long time but at least the food was excellent! It was a trying meal with tired hungry children. Trying to keep them occupied without disrupting others. As parents we’ve all had those meals. We ate as quickly as we could and hurried off to our RV campground. Knowing we were pulling in late all the free campsites would be full. The RV site we tried was closed, so we had to intercom staff to be let in. We finally get a spot and it was already full! There were so many campers it was crazy! So we decided to leave there and try a smaller RV park, more outside the city. We finally found another RV park, and got their very last spot. Right next to a tent full of karaoke singers! πŸ™„

It was after 8pm by this point. L had fallen asleep in his car seat.

With no real WiFi and a long day behind us we all fell asleep by 10pm. On vacation, no shame! πŸ˜„

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