Saturday, January 5, 2013

we leave auckland

and head toward Rotorua... but there is a lot to do along the way- Mike has big plans for us-

here is the map he gave us on day one with our overall NZ experience outlined on the map-

here is the map I have prepared of our day between Auckland and Rotorua-

here is the TB synopsis - 12/8: Bkfst @ Amora Hotel; crispy bacon wasn’t. “Motorcoach” (bus) transport to Rotorua, with driver Logan (excellent Driver & guide). Enroute stop & snack at Rangiriri cemetery & ‘museum’ (good movie). Enroute stop to tour Hamilton Gardens (+). Lunch with Dorothy & Ray Higgins at their home on the family dairy farm in Cambridge (++). Enroute stop at Tirau and most excellent NZ Kapiti ice cream. Quick hike at Hamurana Springs Reserve park near Lake Rotorua. Walk along shore of Lake Rotorua & down to museum. Bus to Rydges Hotel Rotorua; dinner at hotel. RON Rydges Rotorua.

our first stop out of town was Rangiriri to see a film about the NZ civil war between the Maori and the settlers- very worthy and gave a good overview of the strategic battling in the area-

the snack stop was worthy with offering of meat pies (a renown NZ food item) and pastries along with coffee.  there is a whole subculture here about coffee- our friend from Sydney gave us the run down before hand- and here is her write up (Mike also gave us a handout on the topic that was even more complete) 

Lori's Coffee Tips
The coffee is Italian based, so order cappuccino if you like milk.  If you do not like milk, order a “Long Black” (an espresso).   The most common coffee consumed is a “Flat White”, which has less foam than a cappuccino.  In your hotel, it will be easy because they are used to people ordering “coffee”, but in a café, they will want to know “what kind of coffee?”.

so back to the day- our stop at Rangiriri- 

the snack shop/gift shop/coffee shop:

a beautiful rose on the grounds- Mike promised us lots of roses later at the Hamilton Gardens - and he was right- there were thousands of them!

so on we go- to Hamilton, along the way Logan (our driver) fills us in on a number of topics including farming and logging and trains and the navy- he is great! An excellent driver and interesting storyteller... can't go wrong here. This was taken from the bus window as we moved but was typical of the scenery we were driving through (train tracks - narrow gauge in the foreground and farm in the middle distance)

we arrive at Hamilton Gardens- a spectacular place to visit- our scant forty five minutes leaves us with only half the place done and a a marathoner's pace (yes I did mention that Mike is a former marathon runner- so we too will have to adjust to his pace or miss out...)

so we "run" through the 

and see the

followed by the:

  and then:


then we race over to the rose garden and finally round out the visit with a run through the Maori village and kitchen garden--- whew! 

and back on the bus- because we don't want to be late for our home hosted visit - lunch with dairy farmers Ray and Dorothy Higgins at their Cambridge home about twenty minutes away.  but that will be another post as this one has gotten quite lengthy with so many rose photos (I cut and cut and cut but still ended up with what a likely too many- my apologies- they were just so beautiful and had such wonderful fragrance I couldn't thin them anymore)...

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