67 hours in Rotorua, New Zealand

This past weekend was JAM packed. Check out my twitter for updates 🙂

lets do this


Kuirau Park

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Rotorua is famous for their geothermal pools. Whats convenient is you can visit some for free and they are just off the main street in town. There are some more elaborate ones and pools you can swim in; some are free and some cost a lot so keep your eye out.

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What I found funny, was how these hot spots will pop up occasionally at random spots (even peoples backyards!) I loved the eeriness of this walk. Its a pretty big park with a bunch of geothermal areas to explore.

Skyline Rotorua

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Next up was Skyline Rotorua. It is one of those super tourist attractions with a bunch of activities at one spot. BUT it is still worth the trip 100%!

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The gondola ride to the top of the hill (maybe it was a small mountain??) was gorgeous. There was a mountain biking festival going on that weekend, so going up and down the hill you could see people doing fancy tricks.

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The luge had three tracks: a skyline beginner track and then an intermediate and advanced. The advanced was my personal favorite because there are little jumps that you don’t expect. There is padding and such at some of the sharp turns in case you spin out. The luge rides you can buy on its own in different quantities or in conjunction with other experiences. This picture above is the chair lift to take you back up to the top after going down the luge. At the top once you get off the gondola is a restaurant, gift shop and jelly belly store oddly enough.

Canopy Tours

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Canopy Tours is a zip lining experience through the canopies of a rain forest. Whats awesome is its not just a zip line adventure, the company are advocates for looking after the native bird populations. So not only do you get to admire the forest, but the cost of the trip gives money to their organization to protect New Zealand’s native birds.

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Of the 6 zip lines, the longest was 220m and I even got to zip line upside down!!!!!

Te Puia

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Te Puia is a geothermal park/kiwi bird house/ Maori culture experience extravaganza. It is a massive complex with all the tourist activities you could need. Although I did not get to see it go off, there are 3 geysers that go off a few times a day. The park is pretty to walk around and learn a lot about the area and its culture. I highly recommend doing a day tour; the woman who gave mine was SO knowledgeable.

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Along with the day tour, I did their evening culture experience. I think its so important to immerse yourself in different cultures and be open to the ways that other people live. The experience included a dinner as well.

Fancy Meow Cat Cafe

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Now, if you know me. I can never pass up an opportunity to go to a cat cafe (check this out)! What was different about this one versus the others I’ve visited, is this one has some rescue cats but a majority are bred, fancy cats (ha! fancy meow cat cafe is fancy! who would’ve known)! Both kittens and older cats reside here and all are up for adoption. Did I mention that I love how cat cafes work??? It’s a meet and greet with loving creatures that just want a forever home.

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Admission to the cafe includes a hot drink which was awesome!!! As you can hopefully see above is that they have a cute menu with cat-like names and yeah, I love it. The cafe looks a lot smaller from the outside, but once you go in there is a massive room around the side. The 17 cats that were there had a lot of room to themselves and places to escape to be away from any visitors.

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There were many rag doll cats & I was very excited about it because I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting one before. Yes, they were very soft. The cafe is in the center of town so it’s really convenient to get to.

Lake Rotorua

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Last stop was Lake Rotorua. Even though it was raining, it was a nice walk & I mean the ducks looked like they were having a great time so it’s a win-win.

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I’m really thankful for all of the adventures I have been able to go on. There are so many more to come very very sooooon!!!!!!!!! While in Rotorua I visited Hobbiton but gave it it’s own post if you want to check that out.

(peep some pictures flying over Christchurch)

I am looking forward to documenting my journey. All of the support so far has been amazing, so thank you.

Lots of love,

foot

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year-round Jersey Shore top spots

In the lines of coming to terms with my departure (where am I going?? check this out), I felt the need to stop by some of my favorite places while at home.

They range from cats to coffee (my two loves), enjoy!

1.Catsbury Park – Asbury Park, NJ.thumb_IMG_3626_1024“Catsbury Park” is a word play on the town it resides in, Asbury Park. It is a cat cafe that opened up in Sept. 2017.

My impression from the beginning: the employees’ main concern was making the building clean and comfortable for the resident cats, while also showcasing them to help them find a permanent home. All the cats living there are adoptable, and are from local animal shelters around Monmouth County. Most of the cats get adopted within 2-3 weeks (which is insane).thumb_IMG_3367_1024The cafe is split into two parts: the cafe and the cat room. The cafe offers tea, coffee, snacks and soups, with some vegan and gluten free options. thumb_IMG_3364_1024thumb_IMG_3624_1024The cat room does have an admissions fee (current fees can be found here) but was totally worth it. Around the cafe, were signs mentioning exactly what the fee and anything purchased at the cafe is used for (an example is a 25$ t-shirt they sell, can feed and provide care for a cat for a whole week). They do recommend booking ahead as there is limited space in the cat room. All bookings can be made on their website.thumb_IMG_3427_1024thumb_IMG_3490_1024Although, if you chose not to go into the cat room, the cafe is free to enter and you can easily view the cats while grabbing a hot drink to-go. thumb_IMG_3515_1024The staff was very welcoming and really informative about each of the 17 cats’ personalities. Different areas of the room had a “Catsbury Park” take on well known Asbury landmarks (with some hidden spots for the cats too)! thumb_IMG_3521_1024thumb_IMG_3421_1024thumb_IMG_3533_1024thumb_IMG_3608_1024I found it really fun and relaxing to spend time surrounded by little bundles of energy (with occasional cuddles).

2.Crust & Crumble – Asbury Park, NJthumb_IMG_3627_1024Next up is a pizza place and bakery located just down the street from Catsbury Park. An awesome fact is they have an entire vegan menu with loads of options.thumb_IMG_3629_1024They do have a massive regular menu as well, serving pizza, sandwiches, pasta, etc. I found the atmosphere to be warm with a retro feel (very Asbury Park-like).thumb_IMG_3631_1024thumb_IMG_3632_1024aaaaaaaand the pizza is to-die for, just saying.

3.Rook CoffeeMultiple locations throughout the Jersey Shore. Once you are hooked on Rook, well… you’re hooked for life. thumb_IMG_3649_1024Rook focuses on quality, simplicity and experience. The menu is very  straightforward, and I now understand why people are so obsessed. Their stores do not have seating areas, as they revolve around a more upbeat, on the go environment. thumb_IMG_3650_1024Personally, I prefer a less sweet, stronger coffee-taste and they never disappoint; they always give a flavorful cup of coffee.

4.Broad Street Dough Co. – Oakhurst, NJ thumb_IMG_3635_1024Come here if you want fresh, cake-y donuts, with options that will blow your mind. A majority of the menu is vegan, or does have vegan substitutions. thumb_IMG_3642_1024thumb_IMG_3644_1024Each time I visit, there are new specials displayed behind the counter. They also create custom doughnut concoctions for special occasions (their website can be viewed here).thumb_IMG_3640_1024Let me remind you.

They are made fresh to order.

genius.

Although I created this blog to document my time abroad, I felt my at-home preparation is important to fill in the gaps of my personal story.

I am looking forward to documenting my journey. All of the support so far has been amazing, so thank you.

Lots of love,

foot