New Zealand – Northern Island – Rotorua, Taupo & Waihi Beach

RO: Mai sa fie, avea dreptate ghidul de ieri, de la satul maor Whakarewarewa. De ai norocul sa fii in Rotorua cand cerul e acoperit de nori, e clar ca ai nevoie de-un carlig sa-ti prinzi nasul. Ori de-o batista parfumata in care sa-ti indesi toata fata! Pentru ca da, Rotorua miroase a sulf de-ti muta nasul si toate odorurile de la izvoarele termale nu prea sunt deloc prietenoase. Dar hei, cand spui Rotorua iti si vin rapid in minte cele trei mari caracteristici si puncte emblematice ale orasului: cultura maora, ca doar nu degeaba e plin de sate maore in zona, izvoarele termale si geyserele (cu Pohutu in frunte care nu mai conteneste sa erupa) siiii, fie ca ne place sau ba, mirosul pregnant de sulf. Si daca ne-amintim rapid de pamanturile aburinde din insula Sao Miguel din Azore si de minunatu-i Furnas, unde aproape ca ni s-a intors stomacul pe dos inainte de a fi in stare sa incercam faimosul cozido das furnas (replica hangi-ului neozeelandez), e lesne de inteles de ce-am facut rapid doua-trei poze pe la Cladirea Guvernului si-apoi am tulit-o cu viteza catre lacul Taupo!

EN: Well, well, well, seems that the guide from Whakarewarewa maori village was right yesterday. If you’re “lucky” enough to be in Rotorua when the sky is covered with heavy clouds, you definitely need a peg to hold your nose. Or a perfumed handkerchief to stuck your face in! Because yes, indeed, Rotorua has a pungent smell of sulphur and all those odors from the geothermal area are not at all friendly. But hey, when you say Rotorua three things come quickly to your mind as the characteristics and iconic marks of the city: the Maori culture, as the area is full of Maori villages, the geothermal springs and the geysers (with Pohutu geyser to the fore, not ceasing to erupt) aaaaaand, like it or not, the smell of sulphur. And if we quickly remind ourselves about the steamy lands from Sao Miguel island in Azores, and its amazing Furnas, where we almost turned our stomachs before even trying the famous cozido das furnas (the replica for the New Zealand hangi), it is easy to understand why we took a few photos with the Government Building and then we headed straight to Lake Taupo!
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RO: Daaaaar, stop! Daca tot n-ajungem noi la padurea Waipoua, sa vedem grasunii de copaci kauri, macar sa dam o raita prin padurea de redwoods din preajma Rotoruei. Si las’ ca promitem ca ajungem si-n Siera Nevada sa pozam de zor gigantii sequoia, ca doar nu degeaba or fi ei cei mai mari copaci din lume ca volum. Dar nici redwoods nu stau mai prejos daca stai sa te gandesti ca dinttr-un singur copac poti ridica nici mai mult, nici mai putin de trei case 🙂 Bun, daca tot am dat in mintea copiilor de la atat inhalat de sulf, n-ar strica o plimbare pe podurile suspendate de la Redwoods Treewalk. Aproape ca ne tenteaza si-o tiroliana, dar hei, trebuie s-ajungem la Taupo. Nu de alta, dar avem un obiectiv tare important de vizitat si n-am vrea sa treaca de ora 4 si sa nu-l mai prindem deschis 😀

EN: Buuuut, stop! If we’re not getting to Waipou forest, to see the chubby kauri trees, at least to wander around the redwoods from Rotorua. And we promise we’ll get to Siera Nevada as well, to photograph the giant sequoia trees, as they are the giant trees in the world for a reason! But the redwoods keep up with the sequoias if you think that from one single redwood you can built neither more nor less than three houses 🙂 Ok, if we ‘re acting childish from all that suplhur inhalation, a tree walk on the suspended bridge at Redwoods Treewalk would sound like a good idea. We’re tempted by a zip line as well, but hey, we have to reach Lake Taupo. We have a highly important sightseeing to visit and we wouldn’t want to miss it 😀
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RO: Aaaaah, dar pentru o tura rapida pana sus la Whakapapa, statiunea de ski, tot ne facem timp. Nu c-am fi noi mari schiori in mijloc de vara cand nu-i tipenie de zapada pe partie, dar sa nu zicem ca n-am vazut noi indeaproape si vulcanul Ruapehu, inspiratia pentru Muntele Doom din Stapanul Inelelor, strabatut de Frodo 🙂 Rectificam, vulcanul buclucas inca activ Ruapehu, cel care a erupt pentru ultima oara nu de mult, in 2007 🙂 Cu toate acestea, e plin de partii de schi si telescaune, insa ramane in vizorul vulcanologistilor, fiind atent monitorizat pentru orice urma de “faradelege”.

EN: Aaaah but for a short visit up to Whakapapa village, the ski field, we have time. Not that we’re the greatest skiers in the world (especially during summertime when there is no single trace of snow on the slopes :D), but we want to have a close up of Ruapehu volcano, the inspiration for Mount Doom in Lord of the Rings, crissed by Frodo 🙂 Will have to rectify that, the nasty still active Ruapehu volcano, the one that erupted not so long ago, in 2007 🙂 Even so, it is full of ski slopes and chairlifts, but it remains in volcanologists’ target, being closely monitored for any kind of “trouble”.
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Ngauruhoe Mountain
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RO: Si adevarul e ca Taupo are ceva atuuri demne de luat in calcul. Pai nu e lacul Taupo cel mai mare lac din toata Noua Zeelanda? Si nu e plin de pastrav proaspat? Si nu spun maorii ca el este inima insulei de nord? Si nu-i aici superbitatea de cascada Huka Falls? O grozavie de cascada de un albastru ireal de frumos, formata din raul Waikato, care la un moment dat, in lungul sau traseu de mai bine de 400 de kilometri (pai doar nu degeaba o fi cel mai lung rau neo-zeelandez), se stramteaza de la 100 de metri latime la doar 15 metri intr-un canion mititel. Nu-i greu de imaginat cat e de involburata si agitata cascada Huka avand in vedere tot volumul de apa. Si-apoi, tot in preajma lacului Taupo e si sculptura dementiala facuta de maori in golful Mine, la care nu poti ajunge altfel decat cu barca sau caiacul. Cert ca e Taupo e inima Maui-ului (numele maor pentru insula de nord a Noii Zeelande), iar apele lui sunt plineeee de pastrav, motiv pentru care pescuitul a devenit deja o atractie turistica. Ba mai mult, tot in zona Taupo se afla si Huka Prawn Park, un parc tematic cu o crescatorie de creveti (singura de altfel din Noua Zeelanda), unde se produc anual vreo 30 de tone de creveti deliciosi. Care bineinteles, pot fi incercati la restaurantul cu pricina 🙂

EN: And the truth is that Taupo has some aces up the sleeve that really worth considering. Isn’t this the biggest lake in New Zealand? Isn’t it full of fresh trout? And aren’t the Maori people saying that this is the heart of the northern island? Aren’t here the gorgeous Huka Falls? A gorgeous waterfall of a surreal clear blue, formed from the Waikato river, which at some point, in its long track of 400 kilometers (well this is the longest river in New Zealand) it stretches from 100 meters wide to just 15 meters in a tiny canyon. Not so hard to imagine the churning waters of the waterfall considering all that volume of water. And then, also around Lake Taupo, we can also find the superb stone carving made by the Maori people at Mine Bay, which cannot be reached otherwise than by boat or kayak. And even more than that, in Taupo area there’s also Huka Prawn Park, a themed park with a prawn farm (in fact, the only one in New Zealand), that produces 30 tones of delicious prawns each year. Which can be tried at the local restaurant, of course 🙂
Huka Falls

Maori Sculpture at Lake Taupo
Photo Source: https://www.backpackerguide.nz/10-taupo-must-dos/

RO: Dar dintre toate acestea, cea mai cea atractie turistica e fara doar si poate… tadaaaaa… cu surle si trambite… McDonald’s-ul. Pai unde mai gasesti tu in lume un Mc Donald’s intr-un DC3 vechi din ’43?! Sa infuleci un dublu-cheese stand in carlinga ori pe vreun fotoliu rosu aprins, evident cu “your seat belt fastened” cum ne-ar spune stewardesele.

EN: But from all these, the most impressive attraction is by far… tadaaaaa… declaring from the roof toooops… the McDonald’s restaurant. Well where else in the world can you find a McDonald’s in an old since ’43 DC3 aircraft? Gulping a double cheese while staying in the cockpit or in one of the red seats, obviously with “your seat belt fastened” as the flight attendants would say.
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RO: Si adevarul e ca la sfarsit de vacanta, dupa nenumarate moteluri tipic neozeelandeze (nu ca ne-am plange, pentru ca erau toate foarte primitoare), insa parca nu suna rau deloc un rasfat intr-un sat de vacanta de pe marginea lacului Taupo (Oreti Village Resort), cu privelisti absolut dementiale de pe terasa si cu un apus de toata frumusetea!

EN: And to be honest, at the end of this trip, after endless typical motels (not that we would complain, as all of them have been very cozy and welcoming), but it doesn’t sound bad at all to have some indulgence in a vacation villa on the edge of lake Taupo (Oreti Village Resort), with absolutely gorgeous views from the terrace and an extremely beautiful sunset!
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RO: Si-acum ca tot ni se facuse dor de un stat la plaja si de-o scurta (si sfanta) leneveala, aveam planuri mari s-ajungem taman in Coromandel, sa vedem faimoasa Cathedral Cove, cu stanca arcuita si nisipul alb imaculat. Insa cum socoteala de acasa nu prea se potriveste cu cea din targ, am cam ramas fara timp in ultima zi pe insula nordica, asa ca singura optiune fezabila a ramas sa vedem o plaja minunata cat mai aproape de drumul inspre Auckland. Si n-a fost chiar o optiune rea, pentru ca plaja Waihi e absolut senzationala! Si-o ultima cafea neo zeelandeza la Flat White Cafe (bine, si-un carrot cake pacatos, ca tot e obsesia poporului kiwian :D) parca ne da si mai mult chef de explorat in ultima zi in insula nordica. Iar plaja ca plaja, dar daca te incumeti sa mergi pana-n capatul de nord al plajei (la reflux, altfel e pur si simplu imposibil de trecut prin apa din cauza pietrelor), si-apoi sa te cocoti pe deal si sa mergi vreo 45 de minute pe o poteca absolut superba, cu privelisti dementiale catre golful Bay of Plenty, ei bine, dupa toate acestea dai de o minunatie de plaja ascunsa la Orokawa, de nu-ti mai trebuie nici  Cathedral Cove, nici orice alta plaja scoasa din cartile postale.

EN: And now that we were actually missing laying on a beach and enjoying some peaceful moments, we were planning to reach Coromandel peninsula and see the famous Cathedral Cove, with the arched rock and its immaculate white sands. But in the end we were quite out of time so the only feasible option was to see a gorgeous beach as closest to the road to Auckland as possible. And that wasn’t quite a bad option as Waihi Beach is absolutely great! A last kiwi coffee at Flat White Cafe (ok, and a sinful carrot cake, as these seems to be the obsession around here :D) and we’re in the mood for some more exploring for the last day on the northern island. The beach itself is very beautiful, but if you dare to go to the northern part of it (at low tide, otherwise it is simply impossible to go through the water because of the stones) and then climb the hill and walk for about 45 minutes on an absolutely gorgeous pathway, with gorgeous views above Bay of Plenty, oh well, after all these you end up on an amazing hidden beach at Orokawa, that you simply don’t need Cathedral Cove anymore 😀
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RO: Pfoai si-aproape ca nu ne vine sa credem ca doua saptamani s-au scurs de parca nici n-au fost! Si-atatea au mai ramas de vazut si explorat ca sigur intr-o zi ne vom intoarce aici, la capatul celalalt al lumii, unde natura parca si-a facut de cap 🙂 Ghetari langa ferigi luxuriante, munti inalti si peisaje de nu-ti vine a crede, plaje superbe, fiorduri parca sculptate, oameni si obiceiuri fascinante, cultura maora, nebunia cu haka sau si mai marea nebunie cu bungee jumping si sporturile extreme in general. Stele cat vezi cu ochii pe cerul incredibil de curat, izvoare termale, insule fabuloase sau parcuri nationale dementiale. Intr-adevar, Tara Norului Alb si Lung este fascinanta! Iar pentru data viitoare, promitem solemn sa inchiriem o dragalasenie de rulota Classic Retro Kombi Vokswagen si sa batem in lung si-n lat ambele insule, fara sa mai omitem niciun punct (pozele de mai jos sunt luate de pe siteul www.autocar.co.nz)

EN: Honestly, we can hardly believe that two weeks have passed so quickly! There are so many other things to see and explore and we’re absolutely certain that some day we will be back here, in the other corner of the world, where nature simply ran wild 🙂 Glaciers close to lush ferns, tall mountains and unbelievable landscapes, gorgeous beaches, fjords that seem to be hand carved, the people, the fascinating customs, the Maori culture, all that madness with haka or even more than that, all that obsession for bungee jumping and extreme sports in general. Star gazing on the incredibly clear sky, the geothermal springs, the fabulous islands or the gorgeous national parks. Indeed, The Land of the Long White Cloud is fascinating! And for the next time when we will be here, we promise to rent a cute vintage Classic Retro Kombi Vokswagen camper van and to go up and down the islands, without missing any spot (pictures below are from www.autocar.co.nz website). 
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