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Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Rotorua
December 19th 2006
Published: December 20th 2006
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Aotearoa PongaAotearoa PongaAotearoa Ponga

New Zealand's emblem, the fern.
Just a quick pre-Christmas blog, we won't keep you a moment. Flew into Auckland the "wannabee" capital of New Zealand and largest city on the North Island just 6 days ago. After spending just one night in Auckland and staying in the aptly named trendy Ponsonby area of town, we rented a car and dashed up the coast to the Bay of Islands. On the way we stopped off at the obscure town of Kawakawa which is famous for its public toilets - and not a lot else. The toilets are fantastic though. They were designed by the famous Austrian born architect Friedensreich Hundertwasser who lived near Kawakawa in an isolated house without electricity from 1973 until his death in 2000.

The weather took a turn for the worse and we couldn't get out on a boat to explore the Islands themselves but we spent a nice afternoon at the nearby Waitangi Reserve. The reserve is a hugely important place in New Zealand history. The Treaty of Waitangi was signed here in 1840 by the British and Maori people. It has since defined the political relationship between all Maori and non-Maori New Zealanders. Also at Waitangi is the original Treaty House
Maori carvingMaori carvingMaori carving

Waitangi Reserve.
and a beautiful Maori "whare runanga" (meeting house) and 35m long war canoe. We couldn't hang around here long though, we were short on time so we drove down to another very significant Maori area - Rotorua.

Rotorua stinks like a really eggy fart. There's no getting away from that fact. It's all a result of the energetic thermal activity here, which basically means loads of bubbling mud pools and hot springs leading to plenty of sulphur in the air. The town itself has a large Maori population but is unfortunately very commercialised for the tourist trade. We really enjoyed our trip to the Rotorua Museum of Art and History which is located in the impressive Tudor style bath house, built here in 1908. The museum used to provide expensive thermal treatments and was a popular spa retreat. Since then the tourism hasn't stopped. We also had fun at the Kuirau park which is a great public park with lots of volcanic activity around every corner, including hot water foot baths for free!

So it has been a very short trip to the North Island, but we feel we have received more of an insight into the Maori
Bubbling mudBubbling mudBubbling mud

Rotorua.
culture. Next stop is Chile. So we will be in touch after Christmas. Hope you all have a brilliant time wherever you are. Lots of love to all friends and family.

Thanks for all the many comments so far, we love to hear from everyone - especially at Christmas.... and stay tuned for more adventures in the New Year.

Happy Christmas!
Pat and Cat



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Hundertwasser LooHundertwasser Loo
Hundertwasser Loo

Complete with tree growing through the centre.
Hundertwasser WeeHundertwasser Wee
Hundertwasser Wee

Doyler, this one's for you! Remember the Hundertwasser Haus in Wien?
Sulphur poolsSulphur pools
Sulphur pools

Stinks like bad eggs.


20th December 2006

Happy Christmas bloggers!
Only 5 more sleeps till Christmas Day!! Hope Easter Island is as amazing as Rathangan, and already looking forward to next year when we'll have the most amazing Christmas ever!!
20th December 2006

Nollaig shona
Nollaig shona daoibh agus athbhliain fé shéan is fé mhaise. Go n-éirí an bóthar libh i Chile. Donna x
20th December 2006

Happy Christmas
Have really been enjoying the travels vicariously - great stories and some fantastic photos (love the loo!). Have a fantastic Christmas and look forward to hearing about it...
22nd December 2006

Merry Xmas
Hey Cat and Pat, STILL looks like you're having a blast, fair play to yiz. Hope you have a great time over Xmas and New Year, spare a thought for the rest of us who have to deal with foggy airports and clogged roads -- fe(kin' Brits!! ;) Hapy Christmas guys!

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