After my weeks on Kay’s farm, it was time to move on. First I went to Rotorua. Then I stayed two nights in Taupo and after that I went four days to Napier. Three totally different towns (or maybe cities) but all of them worth visiting. For various reasons. I will tell you about my experiences with all of them.
The place is known for its world famous tour: Tamaki Maori Village which is rated as the top 10 in the world (Tripadvisor). Yes it was a great experience. And yes it was very crowded and yes it was very touristic. But if you are truly interested in the history and culture of the original inhabitants of New Zealand you will have a great time.
This experience starts when you get into the bus. You must book a guided tour, there is nothing else. The bus driver is Maori and he will tell you already a little bit about what you expect. Like respecting this is another culture and maybe things happen that we consider ‘weird’. He teaches you some Maori words like ‘kia ora‘ which can mean ‘hello’ or ‘goodbye’.
When arriving at the Tamaki village, the show starts. There are rituals, talks about history, which games the play and what all these different tattoos mean. After the walk through the village, the famous Hangi Dinner is served: a cooking method using heated rocks buried in a hole in the ground (umu). The experience ends with the dance of the Haka. Also performed at rugby games.
I hitchhiked from Rotorua to Taupo (pronounce: toe-paw). Easy. A nice woman and her father dropped me off at the city center and I walked to my booked hostel: Rainbow Lodge Backpackers. There was a very nice vibe about this place. I could have stayed there for some time but I already made plans with Zane and Charlotte to couchsurf at there place.
Taupo has a great energy. It is laidback and has some pretty nice hikes One of them is to the Huka falls. That was an amazing hike with stunning views. And if you are in to bungyjumping, there is a place just before you start the Huka falls hike. Can’t be missed.
The next day I walked from the hostel to my couchsurf friends. Half way I found this very pretty bar at the beach and had a really good pizza! Staying with Zane and Charlotte was amazing. Such warm and loving people. They took me with them to a friend’s house for a barbecue and the next morning I took Zane for a classic breakfast: cappuccino and a croissant. Thanks guys for having me!
I was just walking along the roundabout – where Zane dropped me of – for the best place to get picked up, and a car was already waiting for me! Such a waste of time making my hitchhike sign … Napier was on my list. Because of the fact that it is all built in Artdeco style. Which is not very common in New Zealand. The featured image (on top of this blog) is Napier’s beach. Since I was already traveling south, it was a very logical stop.
I found myself a nice couchsurfing place with Andrew. Didn’t have to sleep on the couch; I had my own room! My ride dropped me off right before Andrew’s door. All those lovely people, it was heart warming. Andrew, his son. their dog and me did some sightseeing Napier. I stayed with Andrew for a couple of days. We had a good time: drank self-brewed beer and had a lot of laughs.
I did a lot of walking in Napier. Especially along the beach. It is beautiful. If you are ever in Napier, don’t forget to visit The Thirsty Whale. If it was only for the name.