NZ North: Lake Aniwheniwer and Blue Duck Station

In the afternoon we drove to Lake Aniwheniwer which is a cultural stop. A Maori family own a hostel and have close links with the local community and mori for their tribe. So in that afternoon they take you to look at some stone wall carvings and then to the mori where they welcome you onto the land by singing and everyone completes the hongi.

That night they cook a hangi which is a traditional meal cooked in the ground. This was pretty tasty; mainly the stuffing!

This one night stop costs $95 dollars so it’s pretty pricey but quite a unique experience.  If your tight on money, work out your alternate route (Rotorua to Taupo) in advance otherwise you won’t end up saving money. Unless you plan to hitchhike!

There were great (paid) activities you could do throughout the afternoon such as bracelet weaving, bread making, poi making and in the late evening eeling.

Can definitely recommend the bread making as it tasted so good ( its fried like doughnuts) and the late night eeling – used to feed the next stray bus so no waste.

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Day 6 AM: Lake Aniwheniwer day trip to a maori school.

This was a very unique and nice experience to share with the kids from the school.  Their school was fantastic and it was lovely to hear about their progress with their academic achievements because of the visits.

Day 7: Blue duck station (farm)

Quiet day just enjoyed being in the middle of nowhere.  Did a long and very muddy walk to a waterfall.

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TIP

If you are not on the Stray bus it’s not necessarily worth the detour.  There are hikes there but we couldn’t do them due to the bad weather.

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Indonesia – Java 

Banyuangi

We stayed at a great hostel in Banyuangi called Panorama homestay. It was a 10,000 IDR pp local taxi ride away from the ferry port. The rooms were nice and clean and there was a lovely pool with a great view :). That night we didn’t get to enjoy the hostel too much as we set off for our Mount Ijen trek. The hostel helped us organise this through a contact they have. For the whole trip we payed 275,000 each. We were picked up from our hostel at 1130 and then taken to the base of Mt Ijen where a guide met us and lead us on the trek. We commenced around 2am and got back to the base about 8am. This was by far the best thing we did in Indonesia. The views were stunning, well worth climbing vertical through the night. The locals nick name it blue fire mountain because the heat from the sulphur creates a blue fire which you can see at night.

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After the trek, we were driven to a waterfall which is included in the trip. This was lovely but I think we were all a Little to tired to enjoy it properly!

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When we arrived to the hostel we jumped straight in the pool and then for a nap. The hostel owner let us stay in the room until after check out so we could sleep which was much appreciated.

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At midday we had booked a cab to Banyuangi train station to get to Probolingo, where we were planning to climb mount Bromo. Sadly there were no train tickets 😦 so after a (small) stress from Lara we booked a ticket for the next day to Yogyakarta which meant we couldn’t do Mt Bromo but we have heard really good things about it so we would recommend to try and do it if you can!

So we stayed in a Homestay close to the train station, it was not anything great but was in walking distance to the station which was great as our train to Yogyakarta was at 0630 the next morning! We bought economy class tickets for 90,000 each. The journey was 13hrs which was an interesting experience! The seats were bench style, rows of three facing each other so pretty cosy, especially when Indonesian style is to spread out, take up as much space as possible, make lots of noise and make a 5 course meal at their seats. Luckily we had downloaded a load of things from Netflix so this kept us occupied most of the journey, if you havn’t got it people it’s a must! So after surviving the journey we reached Yogyakarta at about 1930 and walked to our hostel about 10 mins away. We stayed at ‘Laura’s Backpackers’ which was fine but the bathrooms were pretty dirty and they kept loads of animals in tiny cages and didn’t seem to be looking after them very well. The staff were all really nice but I think just a bit lazy.

Yogyakarta

So things we did were; muin temple, chicken church and prambaran temple. I don’t want to have too much of a rant here but we were getting a little sick of Indonesia by now and the temples just exacerbated this. For ‘locals’ and they would accept anyone who vaguely looked Indonesian for this, the price was 30,000 IDR pp and for anyone else it was 260,000 IDR pp so for Bodora we put our foot down and did not go in but we decided to pay for Prambaran as it was a bit cheaper at 230,000 IDR pp. We understand that locals may be allowed to have a cheaper entry fee but the difference was extortionate and after being ripped off since day 1 we were bored of it.

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