My day started out with a surprise. As Shawn was walking around Matamata this morning in search of coffee (either a long black or a flat white), he found a patchwork shop. The owner was very friendly and showed me her selection of New Zealand designed fabrics (of which a few are coming home with me). She said quilting is popular in New Zealand and there are many guilds, but many shops are closing because it is cheaper to buy fabric on the Internet.

We drove to Rotorua to see the thermal geysers at Te Puia. Lots of bubbling mud, steam, and the occasional spouting geyser. I’ve noticed the parks in New Zealand are very well maintained with paved walkways and informative signage. It’s probably obvious, but I must mention it was hot, humid and smelled of sulfur.

They have carving and weaving schools to teach the younger generations the age-old art. The designs are very intricate.

We stopped in town at the iSite for directions to the Redwood Forest and picked up a bite to eat. Zippy Central, this funky little backpacker cafe had a great lunch. Lamb rump on a Greek salad for me and a lamb pita and strawberry smoothie for Shawn.

Ten minutes from the sweltering geysers there is a beautiful redwood forest. We walked along a well-groomed path among the redwoods and ferns. We saw a few joggers on the trail. I would take up running if I had such a beautiful shady trail to run on (really, I would).

Even the bathrooms were cool

Then it was back in the car for an hour drive to Lake Taupo, our destination for the next two days. The Suisse Chalet is a townhouse accommodation across the street from the lake. It is a little less desirable than portrayed on the Internet, but the proprietors are super friendly and helpful.

We walked down the street to The Lake House for dinner. We shared an outdoor table with two young women from England. They had some fun stories about their adventures in New Zealand. They are traveling on a hop-on-hop-off bus. They determine how long they stay in each town before catching the next bus. One was taking a career break and traveling for 6 months before deciding what she wants to do next, and the other was celebrating finishing her Ph.D. in skin cancer (so I found it odd that she had a peeling nose and sunburned chest). Ph.D. had just climbed the volcano Mount Doom and said it was awful, and New Career went skydiving and told us how frightened she was the whole time while trying to smile for the video. I will live vicariously through their adventures and stay on the ground.

New Zealand beef burger with blue cheese, caramelized onions and fried egg and plum cider

Daily ratings:
Zippy Central – 4 Kiwis
The Lake House – 4 Kiwis
Te Puia – 3 Kiwis
The Redwoods – 4.5 Kiwis
The Suisse Chalet – 3.5 Kiwis

Steps taken: 12,553
Gelato – severely lacking in availability