This year my birthday was in winter! What an odd thing to say, when my birthday is in June 5th. But not in New Zealand. June is the first winter month, so I guess I am a winter baby here.
After two months of kiwi picking job we finally put our rain boots on hold and moved outside of the small town called Opotiki.
I didn’t want to spent my day there so I and Aldis went to Rotorua where we had booked a room in a good hotel with a pool. Then I didn’t know that my birthday will be filled with so many random surprises...
It was a little confusing to see colorful trees although its already winter. Nature sent some mixed messages.
I guess in North Island there is no such thing as Ice Cream season. It's warm enough all year around to crave some. I wasn't an exception. First time tried Green tea Ice cream, and even if I am not a fan of green tea, I really liked the Ice Cream.
As the weather was a little gloomy we decided to take a walk around the city. One of the city symbols - museum was closed. But the park around it was a good place for a walk.
In Rotorua there are plenty of places where to see water boiling and bubbling. As well the warm ground beneath your feet.
The smell of sulfur is also very distinctive to this city.
After the nice walk through the city, my birthday holidays could begin!
First of all, when we checked in, receptionist just offered upgrade our room from standard double to a suit with a view to Maori Village with smoking sulfur ponds and geyser. I was more than happy to take that offer. The room was perfect and the view super cool.
As the weather was a little rainy, we went to the cinema and soaked in the hotels Jacuzzi heated by the geothermal springs around. Next morning, I woke up full of energy and happy that my birthday has finally arrived. Usually, at that day I get a little anxious and there is a little "getting older" depression knocking at my door, but not this time. We had a lovely breakfast and went for a birthday hike in Redwoods. The forest looks like in fairy tale with a giant trees and ferns. Redwoods offers many trails, each of them different degree of difficulty and duration.
Weather cleared out and the hike was really nice and refreshing. After that we went to Rotorua Skyline Gondola what took us up the sleeping Volcano Mount Ngongotaha to a Stratosphere restaurant to our dinner buffet. We booked it online and the price was really good for what we get. You can book your dinner + Gondola ride HERE.
Man at the counter decided to give us a free Gondola ride for the next day – which was awesome. Another surprising turn. Buffet was a dream: fresh seafood, salads, curry, pasta, meats – cooked to order, desserts with many cakes, puddings and ice cream. We were in food heaven with a night view to Rotorua. After a huge meal, waitress brought me a birthday cake with a candle! I was so excited I didn’t know what to say. She even asked about my blog, so she could follow!
After a little walk and warm Jacuzzi we returned to our room so we could have a rest before the last free day!
In the morning we went to Rainbow Springs park and watched bird show and checked out some local animals (mostly birds and lizards). That is a nice place to spend couple of hours. I suggest you to book your ticket online HERE, where usually it is much cheaper!
We even got to see a real kiwi birds. They are so cute running around in the dark and trying to sniff some worms in the ground with their long beak. My favorite bird is Tui. They have almost-black heads, underparts, wings and tails that have an iridescent blue and green sheen, especially on the head and wings. On the sides of the neck they have filamentous white feathers, and there are two unusual curled white feather tufts on the throat. Their singing is the most amazing thing. It is a loud and complicated mix of tuneful notes interspersed with coughs, grunts and wheezes. They also resemble parrots in their ability to clearly imitate human speech, and were trained by Maori to replicate complex speech. You can listen to their singing HERE. Some of the sounds they make isn't even possible to hear with a human ear.
After bird park we took our free Gondola ride. That gave us a chance to see the city from high also in the daylight. Weather got gloomy again, but it was still amazing view.
My birthday wasn't filled with friends, homemade food and tons of gifts, but it still was filled with joy and love. That made me appreciate the people I have back home and also enjoy the moments without them. Because even if they are on the other side of the globe the ones who matter to me and the ones who care about me are always "around" in other ways. We still can find a way to communicate, we still can be in each other's thoughts.
Next thing on our list for that day was – find a job and an accommodation. And maybe we were just being lucky – but we did find both of those things in that particular day… but that’s another story.
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