Rotorua to Hot Water Beach

Trip Start Jan 22, 2013
Trip End Mar 18, 2013

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Flag of New Zealand  , Auckland,
Thursday, February 21, 2013

It's actually March 2nd as I'm posting this.  We've been without internet for almost a week.  If I already sent this I'm not surprised.  Just trying to catch up now.

 This morning we left Rotorua for Hot Water Beach on the Coromandel Peninsula. Before we left however, Karen wanted to do some shopping so I dropped her off and I went to the Government Gardens.   This is where their museum , public hot pools, lawn bowling (bowls), and croquet are.  These sports are over 100 yrs old in Rotorua.  Yesterday we watched a little bowling.  The men's club was formed in 1901 and the women’s I think was in the 50’s, and they were "amalgamated" in 2010.  Progress!   I had a little time so I sat down next to a croquet player and asked him how the game is played.  It was a bit confusing actually to figure it out.  It’s not like I’ve played the game,  that’s for sure.  They play with 2 balls.  And they serve lemonade to the players.  Anyway, Alistair was very kind in sharing their game with me.  He even offered me a cold drink. 

Have I mentioned that we’ve seen a few sheep?  I finally took a picture of some today.  But we’ve seen almost as many cows.  And a lot of deer farms.  They raise deer for commercial purposes in venison meat in restaurants and stores. Looks like I sent those photos in my last post. However, we just learned that you can’t buy trout.  You can catch them for yourself but you won’t find them on a menu.  I’m not sure why that is yet.

More winding roads today.  It’s getting a bit old.  But the scenery is beautiful.  As we head north we’re getting into white sandy beaches, and seaside villages.  We had lunch at a street end in Waihi Beach, then on to Whiritoa, Waiharakeke, Whangamata, Wharekawa, Tairua, and finally about 5 hrs later to Hot Water Beach.   The beach is known for the hot water that surfaces in the sand.  People take shovels out there and dig pits to lay in.  We went out just after low tide started around 9 pm.  There must have been 100 people out there under the moon and stars with the surf crashing on the beach.  It was pretty fun to watch.  People from all over the world.  It was like a World’s Fair for digging pits in the sand.  The art of the deal apparently is to find  a current of hot water seeping up thru the sand, dig a pit, and then hope the cool sea water comes in and fills your pit with just enough water to cool things down a bit….and then just lay there for a while.  It was easy to stand in a place with your feet getting buried in the soft sand and they would get too hot to stay put.  
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