New Zealand - Day 13

Exploring Rotorua

Thankful today the rain had cleared from the cyclone yesterday and the sun was up. We had breakfast at the line cafe again and then headed 30 minutes out of town to check out Wai O Tapu. Wai O Tapu is another thermal area and has some really pretty pools. We made it in time to see the ending of the Lady Knox Geyser erupting. It was pretty cool even though Anth and I have already seen it before.

After watching the geyser for a while we headed back to Wai O Tapu to enter the rest of the thermal park. We decided we were going to do the 3 km walk which goes the full range around the park. We looked at a variety of pools and holes in the first section of the park. The colours of the pools and rocks depend on the minerals that have been flowing through it. Most of the names of these were related to the devil or hell. I found these formations fascinating as it hard to believe that this is naturally occurring. There was also a lady painting the artists palette which was cool to watch.

We played around in the Champange pool area for a while which is my favourite section of the park. This pool is bright red, 62 meters deep and normal sits at about 74 degrees. The smelly smoke of this pool is always huge and is amazing for photos. Escaping the smell of this area we headed to explore the rest of the park. The rest of the walk went through forests and then into the most active area of the thermal park. This area had lots of little pools and a huge lake and was very pretty to walk around.

We spent about 2 hours wandering around looking at the thermal pits and pools. There were a few cool ones on the way out and then we headed back to lunch. It was hard finding somewhere for lunch because it was Good Friday we ended up eating at a pizza shop. It was getting late so we headed back to the hotel had a swim in the heated pool. I then fell asleep for an hour and didn’t wake to Anthony woke me to tell me our tour bus would be here in 10 minutes.

Our Tour bus for Tamaki Maori Village arrives and we were on the Tui bus. The bus driver was hilarious. The bus would be our tribe for the evening and during our bus ride we had to choose our tribes chief. Joe volunteered and became chief of the Tui clan. We arrived at the village and Joe was given his instruction for what to do. He was not to smile or laugh at the warriors and was not to turn his back on them. We waited silently for the Maori warriors to arrive.

The warriors arrive on a canoe and in front of the chosen chiefs spun their spears and did their war dance. It was very interesting and also very scary. The put silver fern leaves on the ground for the chiefs to pick up. Joe did an amazing job. After the ceremony was complete the chief of Tamaki village welcomed all of us. It was a very interesting show.

Our tribe was then taken into the village. In the village we rotated around different stations. We learned about the Waka (canoe) and how the Polynesian people traveled to New Zealand. We learnt how to use the ball and stick instruments. Tom, Madi, a random guy and I played a stick game where we had to follow instruction and run to the next stick. I won! The boys learnt to do the Haka and we learnt about how they use to do tattoos. The next step of the evening was to watch the lifting of our Hangi dinner which looked awesome and delicious.

We were then invited in to watch the cultural show. The did some dances and some songs. Then performed the haka. It was an awesome show. It was then onto dinner which was amazing!! This whole tour was brilliant and such a good insight into Maori culture.