Wednesday, February 27, 2013

River Rat


I went white water rafting for the first time. It was so much fun.
I went with Tongariro River Rafting
It was a 3 hour trip through incredibly scenic canyons and fun rapids.
Canyon wall


It was a chill ride but that didn't stop me from almost falling out of the boat a few times.

There were lots of mini waterfalls in the canyon 

Partway through the trip we stopped to jump off the cliffs into the river. The cliff was deceptively high. It was a fun jump. Probably the highest I've done in 10 years at least.... I'm getting old.
The guide

The River

The water was pretty cold. But I was all geared up in a wetsuit and splash jacket. So I was nice and toasty for the day.

I had an awesome time. I'm excited to have more river adventures!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Hamilton Tattoo Expo

I went to a tattoo expo over the weekend. I'm looking to get my tat covered up and I wanted to take a peek at what some of the artists in NZ had to offer.
Plus, I was really looking forward to the MMA fights that were scheduled!
The fights were supposed to be on from 12 to 4. So I moseyed around the expo for an hour. Then grabbed 2 beers and settled down in the arena. I was all set to chill out for a few hours and watch some ass kicking. But 5 minutes after I sat down, the last fight was over and the lights went off. Lol
I guess a bunch of the fights were finished in the first round and quite a few fighters pulled out at the last minute.
"Good morn' sir, fancy a bully tattoo?"

Oh well, I still had a good time seeing all the artists on display and people watching.
This guy travels to the expos with the artist to show off his masterpiece

240 hours of tattoo work. Pfffftttt. Is that all?

Most of the tattooing I saw was retro or Maori style, not really what I'm looking for but the talent was still very impressive.

There was a lot more then just tattooing on display.
Lots of booths selling Hot Topic overstock 

Destroy the brain and sever the head.

I was able to see graphic artists.
Graffiti Art. I've always dug the Cheshire Cat for some reason. 

Graffiti on display

Surfboard graphic design

Stunning art in progress

There was a Ms. Tattoo New Zealand contest.

Body painting.
Another impressive display of artistry

Airbrush body painting

A few hours later.

I didn't see the finished work, the process I watched was taking several hours. But I think she's almost finished. 

And even some stunt bikes.
"Did you reinforce the take-off ramp?"
"No. We didn't have time"



My name is Rod and I like to party

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Why laziness pays off

With a whopping day and a half off work this week- I had big plans to do a 5 hour hike in Tongoriro National Park! (The second oldest national park in the world)
But I slept in both days....
So......option B.
My first day off was Waitangi Day, a NZ national holiday.
So I lazed around all morning then walked to town to enjoy the free celebration in the park.
Funking out to the free music

There were some arts and crafts stalls, food booths and the usual.
I had to share this photo. Dude standing up is the quintessential Kiwi. No shoes. Clothes and accessories mismatched from the 80's and 90's. Totally tattooed up. Gotta love it.

There was also live music at the amphitheater and I got to listen to the throwback band Ardijah. A funk/reggae band that used to be really popular a few decades ago.
Kids on the rope swings at riverfront park during the Waitangi Day festival

I walked around the festival and the park for a bit, then because it was a nice, hot sunny day, I grabbed a pint and walked home. My walk from home to town is mainly along the walkway along Lake Taupo. So I walk to work/town as much as possible. It gives me time to take in the amazing view.
My lakefront commute

The next day I planned to do a short 1.5 hour hike near town. But I couldn't find the trail head. Lol.
Instead, I found the trail head to a shorter hike that took me out to Whakamoenga point.
Looking at the point I was originally trying to hike haha. A wee bit off course on the way to the trailhead. 

No words. Only the NZ scenery can stop my yammering.
I got a nice sunburn lazing on the rocks and watched Mt Tongoriro smoke like a chimney from across the lake.

I had the place to myself. The water was so stunning I couldn't leave without going for a swim.
Drowned rat happiness

I spent a couple hours just hanging out and jumping off the rocks into the lake.

A lot of boats started to come and interrupt the tranquility of my swim hole and I had to work that evening.
Fishing boat. Me jealous.

 So I reluctantly left my newly found happy place. It so easy to get to, I'll be going back for more lazy, sunny days.
The Tongoriro Mts from my short hike. Mt Tongoriro has been smoking like crazy the past week.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.

I had to go to Hobbiton while I was here in NZ.
I prepared myself for a lame tourist trap but I had a good time and thought it was totally worth the $75 admission fee.
The Shire viewed from the tavern

It was a 2 hour tour, with lots of interesting little facts about the movies and trivia about the shire scenes.
I got to Hobbiton by 5, after hiking Rainbow Mtn and driving north through Rotorua to Matamata.
The Shire

The shire

I took the second to last tour of the day which was nice. I was in a very small group and the sun was just starting to set.
More of the Shire

With the filming of the the Hobbit movie, the entire Shire had gotten a makeover and all the structures/hobbit holes were made into actual buildings, instead of the cardboard facades they had previously been. All the gardens are real and they use the veggies from the gardens.


 It was very cool to see Bilbo's and Sam's house.
Hobbits Holes

It's Lolo sized!

Hobbit Hole

 And see the party tree.

The Party Tree

The Tavern and Market from the Shire

Wheel house on the pond

I was also able to go inside the newly opened Green Dragon Tavern
Outside the Green Dragon

Inside the Green Dragon

 and have a half pint (very fitting haha) of beer.
Where the magic happens

Post sign outside the tavern

I'm so glad I went. And could include Hobbiton as part of my completed NZ bucket list.