Posts Tagged ‘North Island New Zealand’

Meals with Eels and Other Nelson Must-Do’s

Monday, December 28th, 2009

The garden setting of The Jester House Cafe near Nelson, where the food isn't the main attraction.

The garden setting of The Jester House Cafe near Nelson, where the great food isn't the main attraction.

A man I met in Auckland gave me this tip when he learned we’re visiting his home town, Nelson: “You really must go to The Jester, about 40 minutes away, because it’s the best cafe. Worth the drive. Terrific breakfast, heaping portions. And eels — the children will love them!”

He made it sound as though eels were on the children’s menu — a kind of kiddie sushi, perhaps — but a check of The Jester House website revealed live freshwater “tame eels” as a main attraction. It seemed as odd as a B&B advertising pet snakes along with delicious scones.

We put it on our must-do list and found ourselves driving up the Coastal Highway a few days after Christmas to find out if tame eels were an oxymoron or some kind of joke at this place called The Jester. (more…)

Playing Around Rotorua

Friday, December 18th, 2009

We spent the past week in Rotorua, a North Island city famous for adventure sports and stinky geothermal sites. Perhaps no other city in New Zealand, or anywhere, has come up with more ways to thrill tourists (and make them part with money) with “adventure” broadly defined. You can luge, river raft, sky swing, sky jump, bungee jump, jet boat, kayak, off-road race and mountain bike. Plus, there’s the ZORB, a giant rubber ball that bounces down a hill with a person sliding and rattling around inside it. We went on the luge and let the kids try the ZORB (just once, because of its exZORBitant prices):

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The Rotorua Tourism Board will probably be upset to hear me say these activities generally seem overrated and overpriced. Our best times around Rotorua involved spending free time for free. (more…)

Happy Campers Touring North NZ by RV

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

YouTube Preview ImageTwenty years ago, on a college road trip to Oregon, Morgan and I stopped by a Winnebago dealership so I could tour some models. I told him then that nothing would make me happier than being on the road with him in a Minnie Winnie. Either that or a pop-top Vanagon.  He bought a small Toyota truck with a camper shell to appease me, but I still pined for a mobile kitchen.

Now I feel like someone should pinch me, because I can’t believe the four of us are driving, cooking, eating and sleeping in a magnificent four-berth camper that seems perfect in every way. (more…)