Tauranga/Rotorua, North Island


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Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Rotorua
November 9th 2013
Published: November 9th 2013
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Today we walked above a magma dome that's only about 1.5 miles below the earth's crust. The place is called Hells Gate (named by George Bernard Shaw who when he saw the place said that now he knew what the Gates of Hell would be like!). There is lots of geothermic activity in Rotorua but this Maori owned spa is definitely unusual. Every pit of water is very hot (most way over 200 degrees Fahrenheit) and every one is feed by a different water source and at a different temperature from it's neighboring pit which could be a few feet away. Some are very sulfurous and others are clear and clean. Some are called inkpots because the water is so dark. Maori used to dye some of their clothes in them in get them black. Too bad we didn't have enough time to do a mud bath - they are reputed to be wonderful for all your aches and pains.

Then we had a hangi lunch at another Maori Marae which included more Maori ceremonial dances and challenges. These guys were really scary looking. This group explained what the facial markings mean and who can wear what. Very interesting.

Then we went to an animals of NZ park and saw a couple of the rescue kiwi birds. They are nocturnal so the exhibit is dark and they were busy burrowing in the ground to build their nests. These flightless birds are highly endangered because they are easy prey for imported predators and even your pet dog. So this rescue work is very important to maintaining a healthy number of birds.

Well, the cruise is over tomorrow in Auckland and we are off the ship and fending for ourselves. As the cruise director said, we'll soon be needing to make our own beds, cook our own food, and not have little carpets telling us what day of the week it is!

But the adventure continues when we fly back to Australia on Monday to do the Alice Springs, Uluru (Ayers Rock), Kata Tjuta (the Olga Mtns.), and Kings Canyon part of our days down under.

More from Australia in a few days!

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