The Rotorua night market, and other tales

Lord of the fries Rotorua’s night market is home to the worlds greatest chocolate brownie maker. I could end the post right there, and allow you to just salivate in awe at the thought of dense, rich, smooth chocolaty wonder, but that would make this blog entry excessively short.

Instead I will tell you about the delights that the night market has to offer.

The night market runs every Thursday, and has become a regular in my calendar of things to do. The brownie lady is already on first name terms, which is a worry for my waistline. As well as brownies, the food on offer is varied and delightful, ranging from home made Italian pasta from a large Italian man, through to excellent Cornish pasties from, you guessed it, a Cornish guy.

In between Italian and Cornish there is Indian, Thai, Mexican and Maori food, all jostling for attention. Deciding which one to eat is usually a serious dilemma. Hitting the market in a large group (not too hard given the folk in the hostel are always keen on cheap, tasty grub) is the way forward, allowing for a sampler of pretty much everything.

As well as brownies, dessert options range from ice cream to cream coated Belgian waffles. The amazing thing about all of these things is that they are wonderfully inexpensively priced.

Modelling a brownie

New Zealand, I have come to notice, is not the cheapest place in the world when it comes to food. This is something to do, I have been told, with the lack of subsidies when it comes to agriculture and the high price of importing products. In season, prices go down drastically, so it pays to know what to eat when.

The main exception to this rule is junk food, which is both widely available and worryingly cheap. Domino’s pizza, for example, usually comes in at around eight dollars for an adult sized pizza. On Tuesday’s you can get a whole pizza for the crazy price of $6. That’s three pounds for those of you back in blighty. I’m not sure that would even get you a single slice of Domino’s back home.

Eating out is otherwise not a totally inexpensive option, so I haven’t done that yet. Drinking out is also fairly expensive, so that has not been high on the agenda. There was a break from this norm this week however, when we decided to form a group and hit up the local night life to see what was on offer.

a giant waffle

As I was working, and didn’t finish till half ten, the night started relatively late for Rotorua, where most bars, particularly on a Wednesday night, don’t stay open that late. The exception to this rule is the Lava bar, a backpacker haunt which stays open into the early hours, or in this case, as we discovered, two am.

I wasn’t expecting too much of a bar which sits at the bottom of one of the town’s larger hostels, popular with the party bus crowds, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was a delightful affair, with funky music, a dance floor, a decent vibe and a relaxed and happy crowd. Vera achieved her life long goal of being the first (and only) person on the dance floor, and the rest of us slowly joined her as the evening meandered by. Not the worst way in the world to spend the evening.

Finally, in fascinating weather related news, my long run of summers (three in a row now) is coming to a spectacular end. Autumn is upon us in Rotorua, and the weather has taken a decided turn towards the chilly. The log fire in the hostel – whilst not actually used as yet – is starting to make all kinds of sense, as the nights draw in and the temperatures drop into the single digits. Snow isn’t likely, warm clothes certainly are. It hasn’t stopped me from having fun yet, as only yesterday I rafted over a seven metre high waterfall. More on that when I get some photos (hopefully at least), in the next instalment. Rock on.

government gardens




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