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New Zealand: Government Gardens in Rotorua

Government Gardens Archway

The museum in the Rotorua Government Gardens has been closed because of concerns about earthquake safety. There are places for lawn bowling, geothermal attractions, and a pool.

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New Zealand’s InterCity Bus: Right Price, Right Time

Lunch stop for New Zealand's InterCity Bus

New Zealand’s InterCity Bus from Wellington to Rotorua was super easy to take. All we had to do was talk to the driver and give him our names. With a more-than-reasonable taxi fare to get to the bus stop at the Wellington train station, using the bus to go from city to city in New Zealand makes a lot of good sense depending on your schedule.

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New Zealand: On the Intercity Bus from Wellington to Rotorua

Snow capped mountains in New Zealand

Taking the bus from Wellington to Rotorua is less expensive than flying and better for the environment. You’ll also get to see more of the countryside. At Flat Hills, I had one of the best pies I had eaten during our trip. Here are photos from our trip from Wellington to Rotorua.

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For New Zealand History Grab McNab’s ‘Murihiku’

Seal in New Zealand

Robert McNab’s “Murihiku” (affiliate link) is a history of the southern islands of New Zealand that focuses exclusively on the European experience of discovery and interactions with the sea, land, and sometimes, the Maori. Even though this book was published in 1907, McNab points out the flaw of not exploring the Maori experience. He is aware that his research only examines white man’s exploration. McNab traveled the world looking for documents related to New Zealand’s early history. He found newspaper accounts in Australia and log books in America. He also researched information from Russian and Spanish sources.

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New Zealand Chocolate: Go Big, Go Whittaker's

New Zealand foods from the grocery store including chocolate and cookie time

To look at the size of a Whittaker’s 250-gram chocolate block is to be overwhelmed and awed. These New Zealand chocolate bars just look too big for consumption. While they do offer smaller bars and squares, you should really treat yourself starting with the 72 percent Ghana Peppermint block.

If you’ve ever had a York Peppermint Patty, you have a vague idea of what this bar is like. While that’s the closest American connection I can make, it doesn’t tell the whole story. The Ghanaian chocolate is crisp, sharp, and dark. The mint is creamy, smooth, and bright. Where the Peppermint Patty was often similar in texture, Whittaker’s offers a delight in both taste and feel.

If the block is too big for you, the smaller specialty bars may be the right size. The balance of the Fijian Ginger & Kerikeri Mandarin with 62 percent chocolate is a wonder to behold. No flavor dominates the other, and they all have something special to contribute to the taste experience. The Wellington Roasted Supreme Coffee artisan bar is another masterful blend of flavors that you can sit back and enjoy.

If you want something more unique, try the New Zealand soda-inspired L&P or the Tweats mini-slabs. These white chocolate bars feature pop rocks in a twist to your normal chocolate experience. For a more traditional chocolate bar, try a peanut slab or go just a little Kiwi with Whittaker’s take on Hokey Pokey.

Whittaker’s Chocolate was founded in 1896. If you want to experience Kiwi chocolate, they’re the company to start with. Of course, you don’t want to miss out on other New Zealand chocolate companies. Check out Dunedin’s OCHO, and the specialty shop in Auckland and Wellington, Bohemein.

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New Zealand’s The Remarkable Chocolate Company Lives up to Its Name

New Zealand foods from the grocery store including chocolate and cookie time

No matter where you’ve first tried chocolate bark, you’re not prepared for the delicate, paper thin taste sensation that New Zealand’s The Remarkable Chocolate Company has cooked up with its chocolate bark flavors. The first thing to note is that the chocolate is really break away thin, and it makes all the difference in taste. You don’t have to worry about the velvety smooth, dark chocolate overpowering the other flavors in the bark. You just have to enjoy it as it melts in your mouth.

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New Zealand: The Wellington Museum

Wellington Museum

The Wellington Museum explores the stories that made Wellington a town. With a heavy emphasis on the creative arts and creativity, this is one of my favorite museums in New Zealand.

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