Andrew: New Zealand has been a real adventure thus far with the breathtaking scenery, lovely weather and great food! Yes, we know New Zealand is not traditionally known for great food, but Dearie put in a lot of effort to research great restaurants and the meals we’ve had have just been fantastic so far.
Here is a sneak preview of what we have been enjoying:
Jasmine: As we had just gotten off an overnight flight and were getting used to the 4 hour time difference, we decided to take things easy and dine in at our hotel. Despite us being practically the only ones in the restaurant, the food was truly excellent! The NZ beef and lamb were succulent and juicy, as expected, but what really surprised us was the ingenuity and finesse displayed by this standout dish. The chef prepared salmon in two ways- smoked, and plated like a garden, and shredded cooked salmon meat in lieu of the traditional crusted “Scotch egg”. Mmm… Even Andrew, who hates salmon, rather liked this dish!
Our hotel in Rotorua
Jasmine: This was voted the #1 hotel in Rotorua by Tripadvisor, and I really liked its proximity to major attractions, its sleek monochromatic color scheme and most importantly, it was within our budget. Heh. The staff have been most helpful, helping us to confirm our bookings and all!
Andrew: Like what Dearie mentioned, I love the simple color scheme and design, but I also admired all the other little touches like an iPod docking station, a little verandah outside the room that overlooked the pool and a heated mirror! This is a very cosy, small hotel with only 15 rooms. What was disappointing though was it’s so-called fitness room – which is a small room that houses a bicycle, a row master and a cross trainer.
Jasmine: As Andrew had just driven three and a half hours to Rotorua, I wanted to plan a spaced-out itinerary for our first full day in NZ, so we booked a Volcanic Air Safari, where we got to see the Waimangu Volcanic Valley and Lake Rotorua from a floatplane!
Jasmine: we also liked that we got to enjoy an aerial view of all the places we were going to visit, before we visited them over the next two days! This is Frying Pan Crater, which was created in the wake of a volcanic eruption. The lake is filled with boiling hot water and sulfur, giving it a perennially smog-filled appearance and earning it the monicker of Frying Pan.
Andrew: our travel companion this time is Tako, brought all the way from Hokkaido!