Rotorua: Redwoods and Veggie Burgers

Today we slept in pretty late. It was a much needed rest after our adventure packed day in Hobbiton and Zorbing yesterday. We cooked some oatmeal at home and then headed out to see the Redwood forest. Where are we, California? That’s what I thought too! I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but it was right down the road from our AirBnB so it couldn’t hurt to go check it out. Turns out there is a pretty big redwood forest right here in Rotorua. It really did remind me a lot of the one in California. They were some pretty serious power trees. Walking around in between them all was pretty cool.

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Ooh, ahh! There were a lot of them, but I don’t think they were quite as big as the ones in California.

We had to be back in time for me to teach so we decided to go on a 2 hour hike. It was 7.5k. We started out walking through the redwood grove, again my favorite part, then we went up some mountains on a few pretty steep sections, but at the top there were some very good views of the city and the lake. You could see some of the geothermal activity as well. There weren’t very many redwoods though and it got pretty hot, not my favorite part. We wandered around the mountain and back down into the redwoods.

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Rotorua and Lake Rotorua in the background. You can see some steam rising from the ground in that sand colored patch in the mid left.

We were getting close to the end when we came to a section of the trail that had been flooded. Fortunately there was a plank path submerged just below the surface of the water. Of course Alana made me go first and wouldn’t get on until I had reached the other side. It seemed like it was pretty sturdy so the water only came up to mid calf. Fortunately the water didn’t seem too dirty, but I’ll keep you updated if we start growing fungus or anything. After that we got to walk back through those awesome redwoods again before heading out. It was a pretty easy hike. There were also lots of mountain bike and equestrian trails in the area. We saw lots of bikers and a few people on horseback as well. Alana immediately started off about going mountain biking on one of our remaining days here. She has quite the adrenaline addiction and insists on dragging me, kicking and screaming, along for the ride.

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Once I made it across without incident Alana felt comfortable enough to try it.

After our hike we were pretty hungry but we needed something fast because I had to teach in an hour. Enter BurgerFuel, the New Zealand born and bred fast food chain. We have been seeing them all over the place since we arrived in Auckland and decided to give it a try. I wasn’t expecting much. Fast food chains don’t usually have much in the way of vegetarian friendly food, but boy did BurgerFuel blow my stereotypical notions right out of the water. They had 3 different veggie burger options on their menu, all of which could also be made vegan. I had the V-Dub Vege. The burger itself was made of a mixture of pumpkin, chickpea, carrot, and ginger, served with lettuce, tomato, relish, and shredded beetroot, and optional cheddar cheese and aioli. It was a really phenomenal veggie burger. At a fast food chain. Why don’t we have this at home? We also had a side of fries and some motobites (little balls made of the same ingredients as my burger). Turns out BurgerFuel is what fast food restaurants should all aspire to be. Though I still don’t think I should make a habit out of it, I’ll definitely be back here again.

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