Arrived in Auckland this afternoon so I have to catch up with what has been happening the last few days in the North Island. I was staying at Havelock North, near Hastings in Hawkes Bay and the weather wasn't looking too good so I went off to the town of Napier to have a look at their Arrt Deco town. The town previously was devasted in as earthquake in the early thirties - a huge tract of land was raised up from the sea which meant the town then could expand as they rebuilt and so they chose to build in the Art-Deco style.....well there is a very good tour you can take walking around the town with a very nice volunteer guide and have a slide show telling you all about it.......and now I have learned quite a lot about Art Deco....and the buildings are very nice and earthquake proof as well - they hope!!
The next 2 days I drove up to Lake Taupo and Rotorua - thanks Jocelyne and Mac for lending me your car while I am here. The road is pretty winding and long steep hills and then down again, but lots of passing places -fortunately as there are lots of trucks especially logging trucks. The title of today's blog refers to what I said to Suzanne that morning - I did feel a bit as if I was coming to the end and said I am "running out of steam" - never thinking that I was off to Rotorua and BOY!!! is there plenty of steam there or what!!!
Geology lesson coming up ---- As most of you know - or might not know - NZ is on the edge of a tectonic plate and so there is lots of volcanic activity ( hence the earthquake which destroyed Napier /Hastings as mentioned in last paragraph)- hope you are paying attentiion!!! So this manifests itself in lots of hots rocks in the Rotorua area and so hot in places that there of steam vents and geysers and craters and bubbling mud pools and all sorts of interesting ( to me ) things. So wait for the photos of rocks and mud and steam etc!!! WOW WOW WOW again - things I have never seen before. First I went to Hukka Falls, then Craters of the Monn outside Taupo - great walkabout and glad I had my boots and stick. Then I Can recommend Waimangu Valley -if any other travellers are confused as I was as to which place to go to - there are so many different sites. There was quake in late 1880s ( I think) which blew the top of some mountian and created this valley so all the vegetation you see and geo-thermal effects have been created in the recent past. It was another WOW moment - I felt like I was walking into the Valley of the Dinosaurs - would a raptor jump out at me or T Rex???!!! There was a 4km walk downhill mostly and many sites to see on the way...ending up at a lake and a nice ride back on a bus...how well organised is that!!! A brilliant site....and very natural ..and I think a bit quieter than the main sites in Rotorua as it is about 20km south. So by now it was getting on and I had to find somewhere to stay and there are so many motels in Rotorua I couldn't choose...so I decided to find the TOP10 campsite ( as I had a map from when I stayed with them in the South Island) - luckily found the site easily and booked a little cabin with a kitchen.....can recommend these campsites they have a very good standard. I had arrived about 5pm and asked about any Maori shows - to find that i could book one leaving at 5.45pm. PERFECT!!! So what was that about running out of steam!!! The event I went to was MITAI - can recommend that - it was out to an actual village and the Maori warriors come and greet you paddling a canoe ( by now it is dark - so there are flaming torches -very dramatic)and then you watch them perform in a village setting - there are songs and games and dances and of course th famous HAKA - my god - is it scarry when all these men ( painted and wearing next to nothing - nice bums!!) and women are chanting the HAKA and rolling their eyes and contorting their faces, sticking out tongues and thrusting spears at you - well if I was their enemy I would have run away!!! No wonder they win at rugby!!! Then after that - they were very friendly and told you about their customs and them we went off to have the hangi - a dinner cooked in a pit of burning wood and hot stones - and to finish we had a walk in the bush and saw glow worms and their magical pool and spring water!! Wot a lovely evening.
Next day was rather wet - so another geothermal site Te Pui - right in the town and saw the famous geyser which erupts about 15m high a few times and hour + lots of other thermal thingys and another Maori show in meeting house - good but I like the other one better. And as the rain got wetter and wetter I thought what to do but get into my swimmies and went to the thermal pools ...so was floating around in hot pools 39-42deg by the side of the lake with the rain pouring down....was very nice!!!!!
So that brings me up to date.
I am at my last Intervac hospitality swap ....anyone reading this who doesn't know about house and hospitality swapping should look at the Intervac web site - it will give them some idea. As a family we swapped houses( over 15 years) ,and cars sometimes, with people in UK, Europe, USA, Canada - always very successfully...now since Michael died and I am travelling alone I am finding that there are lots of lovely families out there offering me hospitality....and when they come to the UK I will do the same for them. The latest family has a lovely home on the North Shore and there's mum and dad, 3 lovely kids and grandparents living here too. So I am looking forward to my last couple of NZ days with them.
Might not get another chance to do a blog before I leave NZ - and will be sad to go on Monday. But a few days in Singapore before I get back with plans to lie by the pool at Cheryl's will pick me up for the trip back to England next Thursday.
Love to you all
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