Rotorua Travel Blog› entry 63 of 93 › view all entries
Southbound early to meet Mam and Al's friends' son on the waterfront in an English pub in Brown's bay, North Auckland. I had my first taste of the discourteou sKiwi driving that was to be coem a feature of our travels. We headed to Thames, a one-horse town that acts as the gateway to the Coromandel Peninsula. Unfortunately we didn't have time to explore the Coromandel and Thames became just a stopover on the way further south. As it turns out, Thames is best not visited at tea-time on Sunday (if at all) and offered little in the way of accomodation for five people that matched our consideably tight budget. Ad and I called into a hotel/pub and quickly left after being stared at by a group of red-faced drunks that would've been more at home in deliverance.
Rotting eggs. You can't really get away from it in Rotorua. The town sits on a geothermal field making it nice and warm, but it has the unenviable reputation of the earth's arsehole.
Not far from the Zorbing site is the SkyLine gondola and luge, which gives you great views over Lake Rotorua and the town itself, and the chance to hurtle down the hill on a plastic tray like a little kid again. Which, of course, is exactly what we did.
After lunch we headed down to Te Puia thermal reserve for a guided tour of the marae (Moari meeting house), traditional carpentry school, Moari weaving culture and finally the thermal reserve itself. And luckily for us the Pohutu geyser was in full flow, casting a misty haze of steam over things. We also saw plenty of bubbling mud pools too...
In the evening we headed off to Mitai, a Moari cultural dinner and show. We weren't all too sure what to expect, but the evening was excellent.
After that, the chief switched to English and everyone relaxed as he explained more of the culture through weaponry, dances and finally the Haka.
After dinner we went off for a guided walk around Rainbow Springs, an area of woodland nearby that houses Glow-worms, Eels, Trout, Kea (a burrowing parrot), some geckos and the like and of course, the national pride and joy, Kiwi. Kiwis are strange little creatures, and not something that you'd think anyone would be immensely proud of. For a start they can't fly, they can't see very well, they're nocturnal and extremely shy even then. But they are unique to New Zealand.