Rock the Boat – The Māori & The Cavemen
Trip Start Nov 01, 2010
47Trip End Nov 01, 2011
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
We arrived at Wellington (the capital of NZ) at 5pm and we had a monster of a drive ahead of us. We had to drive 400km and then do a sky dive first thing the next morning at Lake Taupo airport
After about 2 hours of sitting about we were told it was still too windy and the rain was pouring down and that we’d have to wait until the afternoon to see if the weather would clear. We dodged down into the Taupo town center boarded a Ronald McDonald plane (no lies) and then headed back as the clouds were parting in the hope that we hadn’t psyched ourselves up all morning for nothing. I rang before hand, still a no go, disheartened but decided to postpone and find a new skydive Centre (shouldn’t be hard, NZ are adrenaline junkies) – and so we did, Bay of Islands on the 19th Sept.
Waitamo Glowworm Caves
Next on the agenda was a tour of the Caves in Waitamo, heavily talked about amongst the country and we decided we would give it a go. It was a 2 hour drive west to Waitamo (we were up to about 3,500kms driven at this stage) where we had booked into a TOP10 to stay the night and hit the caves first thing the next morning
(speaking of 'dumps’, whilst working in Sydney my fellow IT geeks would start talking in computer terminology regularly, and all of 7 of them could easily say to each other with a straight face, did you take a dump this morning and where did you save it? I would always burst out laughing and then get blank looks)
Anyways, 9am, The Glowworm Caves, 400m down the road from the campsite, we headed in on the 45 minute guided tour with about 50 others. On the ceilings of the roof there thousands of glow-worms glowing away flat out, looked pretty cool. Then we all boarded a boat and were given some interesting information from Ralph Harris, our guide.
That was that done, glad we done it, short and sweet, next on the agenda, a 2 hour drive East to the town of Rotorua, which we were told smelt of rotten eggs – brilliant.
Rotorua Maori Tamaki Village evening [http://www.maoriculture.co.nz/]
We arrived into the city of Rotorua, and immediately we smelt it. Stinkin!
The reason behind the stench, the place was known for it’s burning sulphur, geezers, and geothermal/Polynesians pools and spas. We’d an evening planned with a Maori Village tribe, which was a culture night with dance, drink, stories, singing and all round acting the maggot with the locals. All joking aside, we were very interested to hear about the proud Maori culture we have seen and heard about so far.
On arrival we pulled over into the lay by to take a peek at the bubbling geezers by the roadside. Ok it was different, you wouldn’t normally see this around Banbridge lol. Checked into TOP10 for the evening and then were collected by the Maori shuttle bus around 5 o’clock for the evening’s events which we knew very little about, really. Boarded the bus, pretty sure we were the only Irish. The majority were English, Welsh and Argentinians
The driver/entertainer was great craic on the speaker. He asked does anyone on the bus wanted to be our chief for the night at the tribal village. Of course this welsh near had a shit attack, ME ME ME. He was about 50, wearing matching welsh jumpers with his missus. What a torture! We arrived at the village, and crowded around the arena for a Maori tribal dance greeting. They had the full village gear on carrying spears etc. and it was fairly aggressive and a bit nuts really. Hardly any need for it, but impressive nonetheless. Onwards we toured in and around their homes they would have lived in (when I say ‘would have’ these lads lived normally now in the town center, sure NZ is buckin freezing FFS, there’s no way them lads would survive in them straw skirts)
Our tribal leader (Brian) and the other bus leaders/people who put their hand up, then went into the villages first, bearing gifts. This Welsh guy was loving it, thought he was he was in the movie Apocolypto. Anyways, after we learnt some of the lingo [kia Ora - doggy doggy doggy meaning hello/thank-you/everything only without the doggy’s. Then after watching some of the Haka dance, very powerful and some great singing, it was food time, Maori Style
Anyways, the cooks pulled it all out of the ground, and stocked it all up and began to prepare the food. We got our table, sat with some cocky Aussie’s. It was time to queue for the food and dear Jesus did it look good. I was shocked, there was all sorted, roast chickens, beef, lamb spuds, stuffing, gravy – It felt like the Christmas we never had. It tasted fantastic, as was the pavlova (an NZ dish?) – Afterwards there was some more song and dance. We had an absolute cracker night and proper value for money. It basically just backed up what we thought all along, the Maori people are the nicest people you will ever meet (apart from the Irish obviously). We really admired their culture and how proud they were, which was in deep contrast to aboriginal culture in Australia, which from our perspective looked like the Aussies were ashamed of them.
On the way home on the bus we were told that everyone would have to take the microphone and sing a song related to the country they were from. Ireland was announced, and sure enough our host/chief/Welshman/tool was running up to us with the mike. Myself and Caoimhe went for ‘Ireland’s Call’ – how amazing we must have sounded lol, but everyone joined in as it seemed to be a popular rugby anthem down under. Got dropped off back at TOP10, after a top night and we took a lot away with us, especially a fantastic feed. We’d been eating pasta and Risotto for 2 weeks straight, it was a nice change.