Hot Water, Free Range Chickens and Blackberries

On our way down south.

Stopped off in Rotorua on the way. Rotorua has become a bit touristy. Lots of hotels and expensive games for spending your money. There are helicopter rides and transparent balls to crawl inside of and roll down the hill.

We saw steam rising from small tree islands in the park on the side of the road. We smell the sulpher. Andrew quotes a t’shirt saying. “Rotorua… it wasn’t me.”

We see bubbling mud pools and the “lobster pool”. So named because anyone with light skin who would go into it would come out looking like a lobster. People don’t go in and swim anymore. Looks really hot. I suppose too many people got hurt or maybe just too much fear of an uncontrolled environment.

Found a community pool, named the “aquatic centre”, with multiple hot pools. Much cheaper than the touristy places. A really friendly lifeguard gave us the scoop on all the free stuff. Funny lots of people have told us about the free places to go. Nobody has offered to show us the things that cost. I guess we don’t much look like rich tourists.

Found a campground just before Taupo. Nice man running the place. “One of the most easy going campgrounds anywhere”, says one of the long time residents. I like it here. There is a thermal springs walk included in the price. The thing that got the kids excited was the alpacas, the chickens and the peacocks rambling around at will. I imagine the owner bought them or was gifted them, threw them out of the back of the car and told them to “be free and live”. They run around between the campers. Looking for handouts.

We were told that if you go to where they nest you can find some eggs for breakfast.

“Where do they nest?”

“Where they were born.”

Well, of course. Dozens of chickens and ducks and peacocks wander around.

Heard a horrible noise at dusk last night. I was told it was the peahens climbing the tree to go to sleep.

“The peahens sleep in that pine tree behind the house.”

“The peacocks sleep in that tall pine over there.”

The kids come back. I ask them if they know where the peacocks sleep. ”

They sleep in that pinetree over there.”

“How do you know.”

“We saw them climb up.”

Sitting down for a quiet breakfast before the kids get up. Got Andrew his morning tea and placed it outside his tent door.

I look towards the river that soothed me to sleep last night.

“Are there blackberries in the hedgerow?” I did see some as we were looking out over the falls yesterday. Not much of a falls, more of slanted whitewater. I teased the kids asking them to pick them for me. An impossible task as they were reaching over the top of the falls. Yes, blackberries. I pick a bowl for the kids to put on top of their breakfast cereal. Blackberries are really one of the easiest wild foods. When we used to live in San Francisco I knew exactly which month each bush would have ripe fruit. I have never picked blackberries in February before. But after all this is the southern hemisphere and it is early Spring. When we used to live in Australia did I pick blackberries. Don’t remember.


  • tyler on March 3, 2011

    Hey there, one of your friends from ‘Bama here. I remember Rotorua like y’day… Loved the thermal baths and the blackberries growing nearby in the parking lot.

    Enjoying catching up on the blog. Many Blessings as the journey continues.

  • Joanna on February 14, 2011

    picking blackberries in Spring, now that is weird. We have only just got back from our first trip to the Southern Hemisphere and it was so weird to have Christmas in summer, it just didn’t feel right at all.

    Good to hear of your adventures and how folks are taking care of you.