As we made our way to Kiwi-land (aka Bay of Plenty), we came across the Waipunga Falls just south of Taupo. A quick turn off the highway gave a beautiful cascading waterfall in the valley below
After making a few calls in search for a campsite (most were fully booked or over $60 for a tent site!), we finally found the Bledisloe Holiday Park along the shore just outside Tauranga. It was a busy campsite with a number of locals who look to be setup there permanently, with huge tents with 4-5 rooms in each. We knew it was a bit sketchy when we were given a key to get into the bathrooms and 1 token each for a 5min shower – but it was cheap 🙂
After checking his NZ surf guide, Jordan realized the beach around the corner had a ‘high stoke rating’ so we went for a walk along the beach to check it out. A number of surfers and body boarders were in the water catching some pretty decent waves!
|Beach at Bledisloe campsite|
The Bay of Plenty is famous for its perfect growing atmosphere with its volcanic ash and long hot summer days. We decided to check out the local attraction – Kiwi 360 – the world’s #1 kiwi fruit experience! It wasn’t hard to spot it as the giant Kiwi gave it away!
|Jordan trying to eat the giant kiwi|
So we jumped in the Kiwi fruit kart and went on a tour of the kiwi fruit farm to learn about the growing process! I was amazed to learn that 80% of NZ’s kiwi’s are grown in this area, including the green Kiwi, golden Kiwi and even the Kiwi Berry (also known as the arctic Kiwi – makes sense why Jordan’s mom has a plant back in Canada!)
|Pumped to head out in the Kiwi Kart to explore the Kiwi fields|
Along the route we saw a number of other plants growing including a variety of nut trees (macadamias, almonds, pistachios, etc), oranges, avocados, lemons and so many more! The giant kiwi bird in the middle of the orchard was a pretty funny site amongst the gardens!
|Chillin with the gigantic Kiwi bird|
We also learned that the kiwi was originally brought over from China back in 1904, and was called the Chinese Gooseberry until the 1950’s when New Zealand began to export to the US and they were advised to change the name to something more exotic – and the Kiwi fruit name was born!
|Orchard full of kiwi plants|
|Jordan really wanted to eat them!|
Back at the information center, we tasted a number of kiwi fruit products including kiwi juice, jams, relish, wine and even vodka! Amazing what you can make with a kiwi! It was a pretty cool experience and now have an even higher appreciation for the acclaimed most nutritious fruit in the world – the kiwi fruit!