Posted by: The Travelling Mallorys | April 20, 2011

Rotorua, Katikati, the Osbornes and our campervan adventure in the North


We’re back!

Hello everyone, and sorry for the very long delay since our last post. We are sure you have been on tenderhooks! Due to an ongoing lack of wireless we haven’t been able to update as efficiently as we, and no doubt, you would like.

Internet life has been a lot like this: 
You got mail

You got mail

So what have we been up to since you last heard from us?

Well we spent a week in Rotorua first. 

The locals call it Rotovegas. I would like to propose a new name: Rotopooa because everywhere we went we said “Poooooeeeeeee” because it whiffs of rotten egg sandwiches.

Rotorua is another geothermal zone so there’s a sulphur smell everywhere you go. On the plus side there is also a whole load of things to see.

Unfortunately they are all incredibly expensive.

To put it in perspective, when we went to Craters of the Moon in Taupo we spent $32 for the both of us to get there, get in and get back. In Rotorua a similar trip will cost closer to $150 each, which is a bit steep. But we amused ourselves with the free stuff, including a wicked trip to Kurai Park where we saw a lot of cool stuff, like this.
Steaming lake in Rotorua

Steaming lake in Rotorua

Other than that it rained, a lot, in Rotorua.

So onwards and upwards! Next stop was Katikati, in the Bay of Plenty and a reunion with some old friends, Lucy and Steve Osborne and their two girls, Ella and Abby.

I went to uni with Lucy and we hadn’t seen them since Ella was a leeeeeetle baby before they emigrated to NZ. The last time we saw them in New Zealand was their wedding, where Gavin got really drunk at the free bar, dirty danced with a lady he didn’t know, tried to make the bride and groom go clubbing with us on their wedding night and lost his digital camera.

I was looking forward to seeing what trouble I could get into this time!

Behave you!

I did! We had a lovely time with the Awesome Osbornes, who spoiled us with lovely food, beers and a gorgeous house. 

Indeed husband we were treated well. The boys went out fishing the first day, and once Gavin had recovered from the shock of having to get up early, he turned out to be a pretty good fishing student.

Pretty good? Do me a favour love, check this out! I caught some huge snapper and Kawahai.
I really did catch this, and it really was this big!

I really did catch this, and it really was this big!

Well done precious. I spent the day with the girls at the beach and having a spot of luncheon. Lovely!

The Osbornes organised a party night of beer and karaoke with their friends in our honour which was brilliant because I got to belt out one of my favourite choons, the Winds of Changes. There was something wrong with the mic though….

Uh huh, blame it on the mike! No photos of that evening, probably for the best!

We spent a great four days in Katikati, a beautiful place in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty.
View out over the Katikati region

View out over the Katikati region

We also had the pleasure of getting to know Ella and Abby, two gorgeous, funny and charming little girls. Soon Steve is going to be teaching Ella boxing to fend off the boys, so watch out young men of Katikati!
Walking along a log with Ella

Walking along a log with Ella

Happy Abby

Happy Abby


Next stop was Auckland to pick up our campervan for a seven day trip around Northland and the Bay of Islands in the north of New Zealand. This time we had to pay for it (unlike our $1 a day deal in Oz) so we made sure we found the cheapest of cheap deals.

It did mean we ended up with this hunk of junk
The mean machine!

The mean machine!

which was dented, rusted, rattled when you drove it, couldn’t get above 80km and leaked in the rain! Still, look after the pennies and the pounds will look after themselves. It’s my motto!

Well my Dad’s motto is ‘slow and steady wins the race’, which was apt as the van struggled along! We stopped in some wonderful places along the way, including Bayleys Beach. Which is where Gavin cracked open the first of his beers.
First of the day

First of the day

This became a daily tradition at the end of the day!

It wasn’t just me!
Wife, caught in the act

Wife, caught in the act

We also did a trip out to Cape Reinga, the tippety top of New Zealand where the Pacific and Tasman dramatically collide, drove in a bus along Ninety Mile Beach – immense – sand tobogganed, and perhaps most importantly, I was made a Maori chief!

Chief Gavin and friends

Chief Gavin and friends

Yes, during a Maori cultural performance Gavin became the chief. And had to do a speech. And touch noses with the Maori chief of the other tribe!
Making friends with the big man

Making friends with the big man

It was quality. Everyone kept calling me chief for ages afterwards!

We stopped in Paihia for a couple of days and enjoyed the wonderful views of the Bay of Islands.
One of the islands in the bay at the Bay of Islands

One of the islands in the bay at the Bay of Islands

We also took the ferry out into the islands and visited Russell, a very cute island that seems to have been preserved since the 19th century.

Our last stop was Pakiri, right on the coast. We spent a pleasant last day down on the beach, where I bonded with local wildlife and we frolicked on sand dunes.

Then it was back to Auckland to drop the van off. Bye van, BYE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We are now in Auckland for a few days, in a little cottage that is a world away from campsites and hostels. One bedroom flat, brand new plasma TV, a whole kitchen including an oven so I can eat oven baked goods, and a big bath.


So we will be here, chilling and relaxing as we enter the final phase of our trip.

We would like to wish you all a very Happy Easter. Have a great weekend.


  1. Hi good to see you are still enjoying a drop of good NZ ale.When are you heading off back home?

    Chris & Judy

    • Hi Chris and Judy – great to hear from you!

      Just a few more days in NZ for us, then we’re off to visit Mickey Mouse before heading back. We won’t be there in time for the royal wedding which is a shame, but we’ll have Wills and Kate round for tea after they’re back from their honeymoon.

      Do you have a trip over our way planned?

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