Rotorua, New Zealand

Rotorua Travel Blog

 › entry 11 of 23 › view all entries
Entrance to the Village

Breakfast at the Duxton Hotel was awesome!  I had scrambled eggs with sun dried tomatoes with a side of bacon.  There must have been 5 eggs on my plate!  Of course my mother always taught me to eat all on my plate, so I was stuffed when I finished!

Our first stop of the day was the Rotorua geothermal areas -- it's very much like Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming with geysers, thermal pools and lots of sulfurous smells.  And the WH at the beginning is prounced like an "f".  We went to the area called Whakarewarera Thermal Area, This area is also a hub of Maori culture, the peoples who first inhabited New Zealand.  We took a guided tour for the first part of our visit, and had a local Maori guide that was very informative and humorous.

Thermal Pool
  We started at an area with large thermal pools and the guide showed us how the original peoples would cook their food here in steam boxes and in the boiling pools with nets.  We did try some of the corn that was cooked here and it was awesome, although not a native food!  We saw the areas where the baths were located as well.

The tour included some buildings that were modled after traditional Maori structures, like the town meeting hall.  The Maori's used rich wood carving detail on their work which is very artistic and beautiful.  I got a couple of carvings to take home with me, as well as some necklaces for my sisters made of whale bone, carved by Maori artisans.  Some are traditional Maori fish hooks, others are a symbol of eternal life in a modified figure eight type carving.

Geyser spouting off
  Very beautiful.  Oh, and the whale bone that is used is from bones that wash up on shore.  No whales are harmed in the making of these carvings!

The tour included a cultural show with Maori dancers that was actually quite good.  My favorite was when they did the "Haka" dance.  The Haka is a fierce dance of the warriors that was done at the outset of any hostile meeting.  It is reported in Captain Cook's original journals that the Maori tribes did the Haka when he and his men attempted to go ashore on their original exploration.  The men performing the Haka stomp, twirl, slap their thighs and make amazing faces.  The one I love the most is where they stick their tongue out as long as they can and point it down.  I even got the guide to do that in one of my pictures.

The Haka
  If you are ever fortunate enough to see the New Zealand All Blacks play rugby, you can see the Haka in full force, as they do it at the beginning of every match.  If you are curious about seeing the Haka, check out this clip from YouTube.com:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kd0kDxP04eI  I love to watch them perform the Haka -- never fails to make me smile -- but I am sure if you were part of Captain Cook's original crew, it would evoke a different emotion!

After the dance portion, we were free to wander about the park and to look at the various geyers, thermal pools and mud pots.  It's quite beautiful, but very smelly with all the sulphur!  Definitely the stench of rotten eggs everywhere!

At the exit to the park, the waters run into a small creek and on to the river.  There were a number of children there at the point diving for coins that the tourists toss into the water for good luck.  Hard way to make much money!

 

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Entrance to the Village
Entrance to the Village
Thermal Pool
Thermal Pool
Geyser spouting off
Geyser spouting off
The Haka
The Haka
Our guide shows the necessary tong…
Our guide shows the necessary ton…
MOmn and Dad at entrance to Village
MOmn and Dad at entrance to Village
Old Maori Cook House
Old Maori Cook House
Our guide opening the steam box an…
Our guide opening the steam box a…
Steam box for cooking over thermal…
Steam box for cooking over therma…
Our Guide with a bag of corn cooke…
Our Guide with a bag of corn cook…
Another shot of the corn
Another shot of the corn
Geyser
Geyser
Rotorua Geyser
Rotorua Geyser
Old communal baths
Old communal baths
Maori Meeting House
Maori Meeting House
More detailed view of the carvings
More detailed view of the carvings
Maori dancer
Maori dancer
Maori dancers performing the Haka
Maori dancers performing the Haka
Maori Women Dancers
Maori Women Dancers
Maori Dancers
Maori Dancers
Even the kids get into the act
Even the kids get into the act
Performing the Haka
Performing the Haka
Story telling
Story telling
Divers in the stream below the gey…
Divers in the stream below the ge…
Rotorua
photo by: Vanessa_Mun_Yee