Published: July 25th 2008July 21st 2008
Being performed by the Mitai tribe
Only about a week left in the van but still a fair bit of NZ to cover. We're spending a few days in Rotorua as it seems like quite a central place to do stuff from. The plan is to visit an island with active volcano's on, but it is weather dependent..... so we're not holding out too much hope. Headed for the tourist information and now have leaflets (Kat C you would be impressed) and tickets for this that and the other to fill in a few days.
Started off going to the museum for a bit of a gen up on Maori history as this is the main place that they settled in NZ, it was an amazing touchy/ feely place where you can play around. Also went to a Maori show that evening with plenty of Haka (chanting that they do before rugby matches as well as going to battle) Hongi (nose touching greeting) and Hangi (meal which uses the geothermal heat of the ground in the area to steam food, usually meat, sweet potato and a range of veggies).
Volcano island was canceled due to rain so instead we visited a local center
thermals, thermals everywhere
hot pools around the streets of Rotorua
that gave the perspective of the Maori culture in terms of why the settled here (more geology based) and afterwards we took a wander off to the 2 active geysers and gloopy looking mud pools - locally known as the 'politicians pool' because theres always mud slinging going on there. We also got to see a kiwi in captivity which looked like a furry ball (they have cat type fur rather than feathers) with a really long pointy beak (Darwin was really having a laugh with this one, right up there with the duck billed platypus for us!). Jon wishes to point out that this is not the kiwi people or kiwi fruit that we are talking about.
We had a go at cooking our own hangi meal back at our camp site in a steam pit ( most camp sites have them along with free geothermal hot tubs, Jacky was in heaven) it was REALLY YUMMY.
The sun shone for a few hours so we thought we'd take advantage & go up in the Gondola to get a view of the whole city which was great. When we got there, there were loads of little
Home made Hangi
How scared do I look ???
kids (and a few bigger kids) running about with helmets on, we felt left out so joined them on a Luge track. Basically it was a 'legitimate' reason to get in a go-kart and get down a big hill as fast as possible. After such a taxing morning we decided to spend a relaxing afternoon at a rated top 10 spa venue in the world. Plenty of lounging in idylic (but smelly) pools overlooking Rotorua lake.