Kia Ora Maori NZ

Trip Start Nov 09, 2012
Trip End Mar 04, 2013

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What I did
Redwood Forest
Blue Lake

Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Leaving the coastline of the Bay of Plenty, we travelled an hour or so south to Rotorua for some Maori culture and for some hiking around the Blue Lake and Redwood Forest.

After checking in to our campsite we decided to head over to Te Puia - the Maori Arts & Crafts Institue for some Maori culture.  The institute is located near to Te Whakarewarewa, where some Maori still live traditional lives.  We saw a mock up of traditional village, and we caught a show of traditional Maori's pretending to welcome us (another tribe) in to their village's meeting house, sang songs and performed the Haka - war dance - which was very cool.

After our cultural experience we were taken to see some mud pools, bubbling away from the super heated water that comes up from the magma below - and a geyser that erupts 20 metres in to the air, as water pressure built up below the earth's surface is ejected.  We saw a boy and a girl Kiwi - and the boy was running around and sticking his long beak deep in to the earth to search for worms - they were super cute - such a shame that they're close to extinction in many areas outside of conservation area - hunted by introduced animals such as cats, stoats and pigs - and being flightless birds, have few defences against them.  We also saw some traditional Arts and Crafts being made, including weaving and carving from traditional plants and wood - what was cool was seing a skirt being made out of plant leaves - something I may try when I get home...

The next day we went on a 12k hike around the Redwood Forest.  The Redwood Forest began lovely, with hills and hills of protected trees and wonderful scenery, but as we got about 6k into the walk, we saw how logging operations had dessimated large areas of what were once forest and in their place wered tree parts - and in some places, it looked like something out of a Terminator movie - but on the whole, it was very pretty (if not hilly) and a good few hours walk.  Being Valentine's day we decided to treat outselves to a cabin and checked into our en-suite with TV, went out for pizza at the Pizza Library - a pizza shop recommended by lots of people in Rotorua, bought a bottle of fizzy Jacobs Creek, and hired a movie (Collatoral) for a night of indulgence.  We reluctantly left the cabin the following morning before our 10am checkout deadline to head in to town for a post-alcohol breakfast and some souvenir shopping :-)

In the afternoon we left the city for a 5k walk around Lake Tikitapu - or the Blue Lake - a lake 150 hectares in size and formed around 13,500 years ago.   The lake, surrounded by forest and beaches is a turquoisie-blue colour, due to reflection from white rhyolite and a pumice bottom.  At the top of the walk we had the blue lake to our left, and the green lake to our right.  The green lake , 440 hectares in size, was formed 13,300 years ago and is emerald green due to its shallow, sandy bottom (deepest point of 32 metres) and is considered sacred by the Moari, therefore no one is allowed to use it recreationally.  After our walk we enjoyed a banquet of a cheese roll (I ate my chocolate muffin pudding during the day) before getting the heater on and bedding down for the night :-)

Today we are on our way to Taupo, to see the famous Huka Falls and go for a 14k walk around the falls and rapids, and spend some time exploring Lake Tekapo - the largest lake in NZ.

Rotorua, like White Island is Sulphur-smelly. There are geysers located all around the city, Bay of Plenty and surrounding areas and when the wind blows in the right direction - it's pretty yucky - probably not somewhere we'd want to live, but Lake Rotorua, which lies in the crater of a volcano which last erupted 240,000 years ago, is the second largest lake in the North Island and covers nearly 80km - and is very pretty, surrounded by mountains and shimmering in different colours of blue. The town is home to a large population of Moari - the most we've seen so far in NZ, and the town itself is laid back and nice - well worth a visit.
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