Rotorua, New Zealand
Rotorua Travel Blog› entry 11 of 23 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.
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!