Trip Start Aug 18, 2008
32Trip End Aug 17, 2009
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Unfortunately we had only booked that hostel because the tour bus that we are travelling on pick up and drop off at certain hostels. We were due to be collected the following morning from the main road. After explaining this to the manager and given it was dark and we hadn't a clue where we were or where the other hostel was, we weren't about to start walking to find the hostel while carrying our rucksacks and other bags
The next morning we were waiting outside our hostel from 7.15 am until 7.25. No sign of the taxi that was booked for 7.20. After phoning the taxi company that we were told they would book it from, turned out they didn't! So we were told one would be with us in a minute or so. Five minutes later and there was no sign of a taxi and no one answering the phone! We eventually got through to the taxi company who apparently had sent someone to get us but there was no one there! Not a great start to our morning! We were supposed to be at our bus collection point at 7.30 and it was just gone 7.30 and we were a good ten to fifteen minutes walk away! By some pure fluke we got to the main road and I spotted the bus and managed to flag it down. We had been told that most of the bus drivers in the North Island are not the nicest. Most of the drivers we had on the South Island would not have stopped for us if we were not at the designated stop so we were nicely surprised and relieved that the bus driver stopped!
Our first stop on the way to Rotorua was at Mount Eden which is a crater in Auckland
Rotorua is built in the crater of a volcano. Like my other New Zealand blogs here is a bit of Māori history of the area. The Te Arawa people are the guardians of this thermal region of New Zealand. This right came from the early explorations of Ngatoroirangi, a famous Tohunga (spiritual leader).
Ngatoroirangi had travelled with a group of people and were resting at Lake Taupo. While resting the clouds parted revealing a mountain. Ngatoroirangi was intrigued and obsessed with climbing to the top of it. He knew it would be a dangerous trek and made his people vow not to eat until he returned, he would gain strength from their abstinence and ensure the gods stay with him. After a while his people grew impatient and ate resulting in icy cold fingers entering Ngatoroirangi's heart. He prayed to his sisters to help him by sending fire to heat his body. They in turn prayed to the fire demon to help their brother. So Te Pupu and Te Hoata (his sisters) jumped into the Pacific Ocean and swam to New Zealand
As it was Saturday when we got to Rotorua we went to the super market to stock up on a few things. I couldn't believe they had no Easter eggs left! So some Lindt chocolate had to do! We didn't do a lot on Easter Sunday as everything was closed! We went to Kuirau park which is a large geothermal area. Some sections didn't smell that great, rotten eggs would probably best describe the smell! Lot's of steam can be seen rising from the water. Some parts contain bubbling mud, it looked a bit like watching chocolate melt and bubble up but didn't quite have the same appeal to stick your finger in it, maybe it was the smell!
I spent half a day at the museum, to get to the museum and blue baths we had to walk through Prince's Gate Arch
The museum itself was nice. It was originally a bath house using geothermal water to cure people. People travelled from as far as Europe to use them. The war put a stop to people travelling so far so the bath house went out of business and was turned into a nightclub! It was closed for several years and then reopened. We went on a guided tour of the museum where we saw some of the original baths and told the history of the baths. There were two rooms in the museum where short historic films were shown, one was on a loop and you could enter to watch it at any time but you can only enter the other one at certain times. At this stage John had left to go white water rafting and so I was by myself. I went in to watch the short film and ended up being the only person in the dark mini theatre. After a few minutes the film showed the history of the pink and white terraces which had attracted a lot of tourists. A few seconds later there was an earthquake in the film and everything in the theatre started shaking! I was just sitting there by myself laughing and hoping my bag didn't fall.
The Blue Baths was the first public swimming pool in the world to offer mixed bathing
As we left Rotorua we stopped at Lady Knox Geyser to watch it erupt. During the eruption a small rainbow formed which I thought was pretty cool so I have a video of it! We also went for a swim in a geothermal stream that our bus driver told us about. We were a little surprised to see a sign warning people not to put their head in the water as they may get meningitis. Good times!