Kitekite Falls

Its Auckland Anniversary Day today so it was a long weekend. It was also my friend’s birthday during the weekday so we thought we would celebrate it by going to hike up the waterfalls and cool off in the pools at the top.

So many people had the same idea ! (I don’t blame them) It’s a great place to get out and enjoy nature in such a busy city like Auckland. Especially since it’s not far from the city – around 40 mins drive. And best of all, its free! 🙂

It was a scorching day and I couldn’t wait to go take a dip. The entrance to the track is at the end of Glenesk Road and there’s a big sign telling you it takes 30 minutes to the falls. If you follow that track it takes you to the bottom of the falls which has a big pool that you can swim in. You can also see the huge waterfall in front of you.

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Base of Kitekite Falls

If you want to go to the top, its a 15 min walk on the left side of the falls up the connect track or if you wanted to go straight up the top and not stop at the base; you can start at the Byer’s walk on Glenesk Road and merge onto the connect track (beware there’s lots of steps). It’s a great workout! My calves were sore the next day.

By the time we made it, I couldn’t wait to jump in. But when I did jump in, oh man was it cold! I definitely couldn’t stay in there for long. But theres a rocky outcrop to the side that you can sit on and relax. Over there, you can see another pool below you and a great view of just trees and trees and trees. It was such a nice way to cool off and stare into the distance with the sun keeping you warm, a gentle breeze and the coolness of the water on your toes.

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Top of kitekite falls

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View below the pool

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Rocky outcrop to sit and relax on the left

-medlabgeek

 

Round the Bays Auckland

Hi fellow bloggers & readers !

This is my first ever registration to round the bays on Sunday 5th March (for those not in NZ, it’s a fun marathon along the bays of Auckland). I’m super excited and I’ve decided to help fundraise for SPCA. A charity that cares for animals and aims to adopt our furry loveballs when ready for adoption. 

I would love it if you can donate to help my cause. Any amount is greatly appreciated and if it’s too much to donate it’s great if you can share this around too ! I will make another post after the run to let you all know how it went 🙂 

The link to donate is https://aucklandroundthebays2017.everydayhero.com/nz/karina 

-medlab geek

Huka Falls + Lava Glass Blowing Studio

This weekend was such great weather that I couldn’t resist making the most of it. No way was I going to stay indoors ! I decided to go have some prawns at Huka Prawn Park which is an hour’s drive from Rotorua. You can do more activities there such as prawn fishing and prawn feeding but we only stayed for a meal. The prawns are super juicy and fresh, it’s delicious! But if you’re not prepared to fork out some big money for the meal, I suggest you go eat somewhere else or bring your own food ! It cost us $50 for 500gm of prawns, and $20 for a prawn chowder. The view there is amazing though and you get to see all the people that line up for the Huka jet as well.

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Huka Prawn Park

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Lunch at Huka Prawn Park

After lunch, I drove down to Huka falls and the water there is just amazingly clear. Its very aqua blue and you can hear the roar of the rapids from the carpark. Its a very short walk to see the rapids and falls itself so its great for people who hate walking. Theres also tracks there (I saw a 2hr one) for people that enjoy tramping or mountain biking. It was very busy the day I went as it is a very popular destination.

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Huka Falls

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Huka Falls

On the drive towards Huka prawn park, the Lava Glass Studio caught my eye so I decided to make a pit stop there on my way back home. When you go in, there is a beautiful array of glass creations on sale which are very unique that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. They make great gifts and they also do free shipping to other countries if its too heavy/big for you to take back. Unforunately you aren’t allowed to take any photos in the studio so I couldn’t show you how beautiful they are. The guy who makes these creations is very popular and is often asked to make specific items on request. They also have a little cafe for you to enjoy a drink or some snacks. His wife handles the front of the studio and you can pay $5 to go into his workshop and watch how the lava glass is made. I thought that was very affordable and very interesting as it’s not something you get to see everyday. They are happy for you to take photos inside his workshop as well as the outdoor lava glass garden. The lava glass garden is $7.50 and if you want to see both its $10. They also give you a $5 discount on any purchase you make if you do pay to see either of these activities.

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Lava Glass Workshop

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Lava Cog Creation

The lava glass studio is quite small but it’s a nice walk to see the array of art that hes made. There were some beautiful flowers, spheres, trees, fish trap, mushrooms and lilypads all made from glass!

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There is just so much to do in Bay of Plenty with everything so close to each other, you feel like you want to do everything. This area of New Zealand is great for tourists and visitors so try and stop by this region for a few days if you can. It doesn’t lose the cultural festivity and traditions of New Zealand even though they thrive on tourism. You can still sense the amazing local community and witness the friendliness and kindheartedness that NZ is famous for.

-medlabgeek

White Water Rafting Okere Falls

A few days after New Years, I went on a road trip with some friends before driving back to Rotorua for work. We decided to all go white water rafting, which I was super keen to try because I’ve never done it before. Boy was I missing out! I loved it! I was really nervous beforehand because I knew we were going down a 7 metre waterfall which sounded hugeeee to me and I was scared of all these rapids on the river. But our guide Jamie was great and made everyone feel so hyped and ready to take on this challenge! The place we went to was called Rotorua Rafting (they are number 1 on trip advisor if you search rafting at Okere falls). I highly recommend this place ! It costs $85 pp but if you come with a group you get a discount. They do take some photos of you and you can see all of them before deciding if you want to purchase the photos which are $40 and given on a USB. If you come as a group like I did, you can split that cost and share the photos to each other so it would be even cheaper.

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We were given a quick intro on how to manoeuvre the paddles and what to do for certain commands and away we went. The rapids weren’t as bad as I thought and we even got to jump out the raft and slide down the rapids with our bodies lying flat on our backs! They gave us heaps of opportunities to experience the river and take some pit stops. We all got to climb up a mini cliff and jump off it into the river and swim towards our raft. Everyone had life jackets and a helmet on so I felt perfectly safe with them. They also had two solo kayaker’s that came along to help anyone if someone couldn’t swim or anything went awry. You can definitely tell that all the guides are very experienced on the river so you don’t feel like you’re in danger at all.

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I sat in the front with my friend but they all picked me to sit on the front of the raft and hold on to some ropes while they all sat on the back and paddled me through a mini waterfall and that was amazing! I made it through without falling but my “friends” pushed me off afterwards haha

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The guide also tries to paddle you head first into some rapids to experience the water pouring over you, I got to sit in the front and ended up literally sitting under a mini waterfall with the water pouring in front of me which was surreal! The whole trip took around 1.5 hours, we started at 4.30pm and it finished at 6 but after getting changed and looking at the photos before leaving, it was a good 2 hours. During good weather their last session is at 4.30 but during winter when the days are shorter, their last session is at 3. I recommend you book in advance as they are really busy. Even though we had 29 of us at the 4.30 session, we still had heaps of fun because all the groups were split off with their own guide and raft so we felt like we were still by ourselves.

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After having dinner, we all decided to relax. What better way to relax than a thermal spa 😀 We went to the infamous Polynesian spa in Rotorua which opens till 11pm and on a good night you can lie in the hot pools and look at the starry sky. I can honestly say that the pools there really do work wonders for you. My skin felt amazing after the soak. It was silky smooth and they had signs for each of the pools that tell you what they are generally used for such as aches and pains etc. The only downside is the smell of sulphur that gets into your hair so tie it up if you have long hair! (It still smelt after I washed it).

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I can’t wait to go white water rafting again, maybe even try black water rafting in the future !

-medlabgeek

Julian’s Berry Farm and Cafe

It’s almost Christmas! I love the atmosphere during this time of year, everyone gets so into the holiday spirit. For most of you, your Christmas is probably a lot different to mine. For me, it consists of relaxing at a park or beach, going on road trips, getting a tan, picnics and BBQ’s and a nice refreshing cold beverage.

My best friend came down to visit me over the weekend and I thought what better way to start off the Christmas season than berry picking. This time of the year is the perfect time for berries but just make sure to go earlier during the day to avoid the sweltering heat! And DON’T think you can get away from wearing sunscreen. Protect yourselves people. The sun can be very dangerous, especially in NZ.

Julian’s Berry Farm is an hour away from Rotorua, down in Whakatane and it is very busy and popular. However you don’t feel crowded at all when picking so there’s plenty of time and room to pick without feeling rushed or cramped. What’s so great about this place is that they don’t just have one kind of berry, but a whole variety of berries to pick from. It’s also a great place for kids as they have a mini golf course and a little farm zoo where you can go in for free or pay $1.50 if you want to get some animal feed. If you get hungry from all the picking (which I doubt from all the berries around you), they have a cafe which is settled under a really nice covered outer deck. They also sell fresh berry ice cream / frozen yoghurt and packaged fresh fruit if you don’t feel like picking them yourselves. When we went, strawberries were really juicy vibrant and sweet. I tried the other berries (i.e. blackberry, raspberry, ranui berry etc) but they were too sour for me so I just stuck with good ol’ strawberries 🙂

You can find this all on the website but it costs $18 for around 1kg of PYO; $26 for 1.8kg and $40 for 2.8kg. If you pick only strawberries it’s a bit cheaper. They also show you what is the best time of the year to pick certain berries on their website.

Views of the strawberry fields

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There are more photos of the berry section and kids farm below.

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Skyline, Kuirau Park and Agrodome Rotorua

On the weekend, my family drove down to visit me, and we took it as a chance to celebrate my mum’s birthday which was on a Tuesday. I decided to shout the family lunch at the Stratosfare Restaurant.

The skyline isn’t as high as the one in Queenstown, but once you get up there, the view is just wonderful. The weather was clear and sunny, so we could see across the lake and you can also get a great view on the whole of Rotorua. I opted for the package option which includes the gondola ride up as well as the buffet lunch for $55 per adult. If that is too pricey, you can always eat at the cafe which is right next door or bring your own lunch 🙂 Everyone is able to see the same view so you would not be disadvantaged. It was such a lovely day that lots of people sat outdoors and ate packed lunches. If you haven’t been on a luge before then I highly suggest you spend money on that instead ! It’s great fun for kids and adults and you will not regret it. Because I live in NZ, I’ve been on them plenty of times so we didn’t do the luge this time, and focused on making the most of our buffet instead 😛

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After the buffet, we traveled back down and looked at some of the geothermal springs within the town. The one at Kuirau park is quite nice to stroll around (and it is free). There are also little foot pools within the park where the water comes from the springs for you to feel the temperature and have a nice foot soak so wear some sandals if you plan on giving it a try !

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We then went and attended the farm tour at Agrodome. It was veeeerrrryyy busy and packed full of tourists so if you plan on going, book early! We had booked online in advance but when we arrived, they had overbooked and we were about to be turned away (with a refund) until 7 people had cancelled because they were annoyed with the Agrodome. But because of that, my family and I had to sit all over the place throughout the tour 😦

The tour is a bit more expensive than the show and in my opinion, the show is a lot better, you get to see how sheep are sheared and farm dogs show you how they herd the sheep as well as get to feed lambs (but I went when I was very young).

The tour is an hour-long and a tractor carries the group around the farm, showing you the type of farm animals they have and what they are used for, the kiwifruit orchard, manuka plants, olive tree’s as well as let you taste some kiwifruit juice and NZ honey. The highlight is when they let you feed some of the animals with pellets provided. If you are traveling to NZ and your home country does not have many farm’s then this would be great for you as you can get up close to the farm animals and see the day-to-day activities of a farm in NZ.

 

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Red deer

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Llama’s are so cute in a dorky way!

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Baby llama

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-medlabgeek