Pohutu Geyser at Te Puia Thermal Park “going off”
11th – 13th December 2013
Geothermal Rotorua is a very “happening” place with lots of interesting attractions, so much to fit in to a day and a half. After settling in to our hotel we decided on a swim in the outdoor heated pool. It is quite eerie seeing steam coming out of the ground so close to the hotel, and the characteristic sulphur smell constantly hangs in the atmosphere.
The Botanical Gardens are always a joy to visit, with a profusion of beautiful roses, and the Museum (formerly the government buildings) is an amazing structure, as is the building that houses the indoor baths. The Rachel Spring on the edge of the gardens with its constant eddies of steam is a real surprise find.
The fabulous Museum in the Rotorua Botanic Gardens, formerly Parliament House
The Bath House (left) and rose garden in full bloom in the Botanic Gardens
Next day we firstly set off for the Te Puia thermal park where the Pohutu Geyser was in full blast mode, the bubbling mud pools and the model Maori village. That afternoon we had booked for the Polynesian Spa, a series of hot pools overlooking a beautiful blue lake. The pools varied in temperature, we chose the middle of the range and spent a lovely relaxing time soaking in the warm water, surrounded with trees and gardens, so good!
Bubbling mud (left) and Tay standing next to an elaborate Maori carving
in the Maori Village at Te Puia
For our evening entertainment we booked to go on the bus to the Mitai Maori Village where we saw close up a genuine Maori canoe, then watched some Maori “warriors” rowing a canoe down a stream – they can look very frightening. A Maori concert was performed demonstrating the Maori culture and history, then we had the opportunity to eat a traditionally cooked hangi meal, that had been cooked in the ground.
Afterwards we joined a tour (in the dark) at Rainbow Springs (next door to the Mitai Maori Village), to see some tiny glow worms and some shy kiwis.
Learning about the history and crafting of a Maori canoe (left) and watching the Maori warriors arrive (right)
Tomorrow we set off north west to the beautiful city of Auckland.