As we were leaving the Rotorua Canopy Tours, Gary (a native of Rotorua) gave us some local ideas on things we may enjoy. He gave us a local glow worm spot and the location of a thermal heated creek that we could soak in. We tried the glow worm spot first and it turned out that we were too early to see any glow worms. I had thought that it would be in a cave, but instead it was in an area where the banks of a trail are undercut. So, when it is completely dark you get a free light show from the glow worms. We were there around 5p, so no light show for us, only lots of rain. It was a good thing we did not hang out with the glow worms too long, because when we got back to the parking there were a couple guys getting ready to lighten our car. We walked past the car and played on the playground nearby for a bit, while they watched us. When they finally understood that it was our car they were so interested in, they drove off for easier prey.







We made our way to a camp spot on a lake near Kerosene Creek. Our thought was we would sleep close by and then go soak in the morning. It turned out to be a great idea and we were walking beside the flowing, smoking water by 8:30a the next morning. Gary had told us we have to be careful because sometimes the creek is too hot to enter. It was good to take your time entering the water as it felt like it was almost boiling. You got use to it fairly quickly and we had a good time sitting at the base of one of the waterfalls. When we started getting too hot it was time to explore further downstream. Sydney floated down the creek as I walked beside it. We came to a ten foot waterfall with a large pool below it. I was amazed when swimming in the pool below the falls. While standing in the water, if you dug your toes into the small rocks under the water it was just like you were sticking them into a blazing oven. I was only able to handle a couple seconds of the heat before I would have to lift my feet up. I did it several times because it was so interesting. It was like that creek was flowing on top of a lava field, which is why it was a thermal spring. We stayed for an hour and decided as more people started showing up that it was time for us to go. We were literally in the middle of the woods, so it was crazy when a huge tour bus pulls into the parking lot and offloads a full bus load of people. All of them had on their swimsuits. We were so glad we were leaving because the creek was no where near big enough to handle that many people.







We drove a couple hours north to the beach for our next stop, Cathedral Cove. It is a beautiful spot where in the Prince Caspian movie, the children are pulled back into Narnia. To park, we had to drive around a very small parking lot until someone left(~20mins). Then we walked for forty-five minutes to the famous cove. There were lots of people there and it felt crowded after two weeks of being alone. We had a snorkel gear with us, but the water was cold enough to take your breath away. Sydney splashed around in the water for about twenty minutes and then we decided we had enough. On the way back to the car we stopped off at another beach, Gemstone Bay. This one has no people and was very rocky. We loved it. We spent another hour just playing in all the rocks going in and out of the surf picking up snails and crabs. It was tons of fun.

After our day in the sun we decided to drive closer to Auckland for our flight out the next day. That night we got several hours of heavy rain. There was so much rainwater that the tent was literally sitting in it. The next day it was sunny and we were able to dry everything out before packing it all up for our long flight home.

Sydney’s Take:  I loved the warm water at Kerosene Creek.  We were blessed to get out before the hoards of people showed up.  Cathedral Cove was too crowded.  The snails were so fun at Gemstone Bay.

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Ready…Set..Zip – Rotorua, New Zealand

by Funhog Family on March 31, 2017

We have always called Sydney, our zip line girl. From the time she could speak she would beg to take her turn on any zip line I set up or we happened to be near. When traveling once, we found ourselves at a camp in South Carolina. Sydney was around four years old and there was a very long (~1.5 football fields length) and very high (~150ft) zip line that ended by splashing down into a nearby lake. All of our kids were a little scared of the zip line, except Sydney. She pleaded to go first and flew down the line squealing. She had so much fun doing it that all the other kids got excited to follow her example.

When doing the research for our New Zealand trip, Sydney said the two main things she wanted to do on the trip were to visit Hobbiton and do a canopy tour. We scheduled our trip around those two things and both turned out to be even better than we expected. For our canopy tour we went to Roturoa on the North Island. Arial and Gary were our tour guides and they were exceptional. They infused our eco-education with non-stop laughter. Sydney LOVES to laugh as much as she loves zip lines, so she was smiles the whole tour. After being clipped into the safety wire, Sydney would march right off the tree platform into mid-air. It was fun watching the rest of our group watch her excitement.

Our tour was through a native New Zealand forest, which is a very rare thing as only 5% of the North Island’s native forests still exist. We learned that long ago, when Captain Cook sailed to New Zealand, he said the sound of the birds was deafening from two miles off shore. As we were told this fact, the forest was quiet (no birds were singing). Man along with the predators he introduced (rats, possums, and weasels) have decimated New Zealand’s native species of birds, making the forest quiet. Gary is part of those leading the charge to take back their precious New Zealand from the predator threat. They are doing this through high tech traps to destroy the pests that are destroying New Zealand. They work is making a difference we could see and hear, as on our tour we got to enjoy the musical fruit of all their labor.

Check Rotorua Canopy Tours out here:

Sydney Take: I love zip linning! It was so funny to see Mr. Gary and Mr. Ariel together. After six zip lines and two bridges, I wanted to keep going. On our tour we got to feed a North Island robin. All you had to do was hold out your hand with food and it would dart into it. I thought Chloe would love all of it. I want our whole family to go back to New Zealand one day so we can all have fun together.

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Hairy Feet – Hobbit Town, New Zealand

March 30, 2017

            The big day was upon us! Sydney was so excited that her smile wrapped all the way around her head. We were one of the first people on-site and we had signed up for the first tour of the day. If you ever go, be on the first bus. […]

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Time For Tea – Zealong Tea Tour, New Zealand

March 29, 2017

We left our hotel at 5:45a this morning to fly to the North Island. Landing in Auckland, I was not really looking forward to driving through a major city. It turned out to not be a big deal. The airport is on the south side of Auckland and with two turns we were headed out […]

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Write Your Story – Queenstown Hill, New Zealand

March 28, 2017

We spent the night south of Queenstown at the abandoned Fairlight Railway Station (the one campsite we have seen twice). In the morning we took our time getting ready and having our bible time. It was nice to have a relaxing morning with no major driving needed to get to the next thing. We made […]

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Into the Beautiful – Clifden Cave, New Zealand

March 27, 2017

We have been “Freedom Camping” this whole trip, which means we have been tent camping in legal areas around the country. The areas are far apart and usually off the beaten path. Leaving Milford Sound around 6p and then getting caught in the traffic jam, I knew we would be getting into camp late. Driving […]

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Misty Mountains – Milford Sound & Gertrude Saddle

March 26, 2017

              We were debating if we should make the five plus hour commitment to drive down to Milford Sound or not. I asked several people and everyone told me that it was a must do part of any trip to the south island, so we kept it in the […]

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Tree Beard’s Forest – Cross Creek, New Zealand

March 25, 2017

            Marvelous! Glorious! Stupendous! “Look and see what the Lord hath made, rejoice, and be glad in it!” Waking up on Haast Beach on the Tasman Sea to a magnificent sunrise over the mountainous jungles of New Zealand’s South Island was a great way to start our best day yet! […]

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Liquid Ice – Hokitika Gorge & Franz Josef Glacier, New Zealand

March 24, 2017

We made it through Arthur’s Pass yesterday after hiking Cave Stream. The scenery was as beautiful as the road was twisty and the bridges were narrow. There are huge tour buses zooming down these roads that make me uncomfortable in a mini coop style SUV. We got to our camp for the night and found […]

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Dear Younger Me – Castle Hill & Cave Stream, New Zealand

March 23, 2017

Our camp on the edge of Tekapo Lake is one of the most scenic camping spots I have even stayed in. The water was so glacier blue that it seemed like it must not be real. It was only when you try putting your body in that water that you understand how real it is! […]

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