Our Smelly Safehaven
We thoroughly enjoyed our little spot in Rotorua. We were able to have a base to watch so many movies, explore and start to put down roots. We were in the area for 8 days, and still had things to discover! We were able to soak in the therapeutic hot springs, travel around, visit museums, and walk amongst giant Californian Redwoods.
The more we stayed, the more we appreciated Rotorua. We tried to get outside for a little while each day, we discovered cafes with great gluten free options for Stacey and the best wifi hotspots. We even had the privilege of taking in a night market.
Each week for a few hours in the evening two blocks of downtown Rotorua shuts down to host a village of tiny tents all brimming with cultural and culinary treasures. It was so much fun wandering around, listening to live music, and eating amazing food – like the awesome dumplings I snagged from the vendor pictured below (yes, those are all trays of dumplings, steamed pork buns and more), or the waffles Joel fell in love with at first sight and again at first bite or the amazing kebabs! It was a great evening to hang out.
One of my favourite days in the area was a very rainy one. We suited up in hiking boots, wool socks and rain gear to explore the Redwoods just outside town. There’s a forest that boasts massive California-imported trees with an extensive trail system throughout. You’re able to choose a hike that lasts anywhere from 30 minutes to 8 hours+! It was a magical place where I was certain a T-rex lived, simply by it’s lush, tropical surroundings. We will be back! If you come to visit, bring your walking shoes- we’d love to tour you around.
The rain persisted, so we decided to head indoors for our next activity, the Rotorua Museum. We took the guided tour, and were drawn into the history of Maori people, and specifically the people of the area as our guide shared with us her own lineage. The building that now houses the Museum was once a bathhouse that drew tourists from all over the world to soak in it’s mineral-heavy waters and from there, turned into everything from a restaurant to a cabaret and nightclub! The building undertook a great restoration and is now representative of what it was meant to be when it was first constructed. Very beautiful.
Our evening was rounded out with a visit to Abracadabra Cafe. A sweet little spot for coffee, cocktails and tasty treats. We indulged in warm beverages and a tableful of small plates. The food was delightful, service friendly and well.. as you can see, I was quite taken with the decor- specifically, the light fixtures!
We’ll always have happy memories of Rotorua. It was such a cute little spot, but it was also a place that made us feel stable enough to do the work of settling down.
While in Rotorua, we made friends with the ladies at the bank- who despite being a bit confused about how to process our bank info worked tirelessly to be sure we had bank cards and access to our NZ dollars. We also were given the space to research rental houses and subsequently found our dream ocean-front home!
We are still continually on the hunt for libraries and cafes to fulfill our wifi fix (more importantly, a chance for the guys to get connected and work a bit) but, we are hopeful that soon we will have all we need to start working from our slice of heaven.
We also found our newly-named 2000 Honda Stream- Crumpy- while staying there! Our little 4-wheeled friend (that was named after the author who wrote the novel that was adapted into the film “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” ) has been a dream. It’s already proven it’s worth on an (accidentally extreme) trip back from the coast!
We feel truly blessed and have seen God’s work as He’s really opened doors for us being here. We have felt mild- struggle and stress as we have tried to find a home and start to make our mark in the country- but each time He has reminded us He is in control!
We had been waiting for bank approval and started to feel the headache of jumping through policy hoops when (with the appearance of a dove) we received our approval email and an invitation to finalize our banking as soon as we were able to get to the bank!
We were waiting and waiting for our realtor to contact the home-owner to allow us to get into the house we were smitten with, and the realtor ended up working Sunday of a long weekend so we wouldn’t have to look for accommodations in between moving in & moving from our AirBnB. Again and again we’ve had some really amazing experiences. We can definitely see the affect of the prayers here and at home. Which is really cool. We are very much looking forward to finding community here and making the next several months a time to remember!