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Jake and I are currently in the city of Rotorua. The city is a geothermal and (consequently) tourist hotspot, and steaming pools, mud pits and sulphur pits are common sites around town. All this activities contributes to two things – a pungent odour of rotting eggs, present pretty much everywhere, including in some buildings when you’re trying to sleep 😑, and its nickname; Sulphur City. We based ourselves here for 4 nights so we had enough time to sample several attractions.

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The main thing we wanted to see here (and in New Zealand generally) was the Hobbiton Movie Set. Fans of the Lord of the Rings and/or The Hobbit will know, but not far from Rotorua is the official movie set used in the films for external shots in Hobbiton, the idyllic and bucolic town where the hobbits live. The tour around it took 2 hours and was amazing. We had so much fun and learnt some incredible facts about the films, and I would recommend it wholeheartedly to any fan of the films.

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We were a little dismayed to learn how expensive the Rotorua Museum was, but we did pay for the Blue Baths next door. Heated by the geothermal springs around, we relaxed in the waters which did wonders for our aching legs and feet that still hadn’t quite recovered from all our recent hikes. And they didn’t smell too strongly of sulphur yay!

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The third cool thing we did was an unusual activity named OGO. Similar to Zorbing, you basically jump inside a huge inflatable plastic ball, then get pushed down a hill. The difference between the two is that with OGO you get water thrown in with you, so I suppose the overall effect is like being in a washing machine. Unfortunately we don’t have any photos of us inside the ball because they charge you a small fortune to keep them, so you’ll have to use your imagination. The experiences itself was pretty hilarious and awesome!

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Otherwise we’ve been taking it easy and relaxing in the hostel (there’s really good Wi-Fi), recovering from all those hikes we did around Lake Taupo. Just for completion’s sake, I’ll put a few photos of them below.

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We’re leaving early tomorrow morning for our final stop in New Zealand; Auckland. It’s the largest city in the country and we’re excited for a bit of civilisation!

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