Today we drive to the hot and steamy heart of New Zealand, Rotorua. It's know for it's many geothermal hotspots with spouting geysers, bubbling and belching acrid-smelling mud pools, and warm geothermal pools and ponds. Rotorua is also the main centre for Maori cultural experiences. There us so much to see and do in and around here, that we'll have a hard time choosing ... We'll be staying at the unique lakefront retreat, the Swiss Lodge, hosted by Heiko and Christina.
Skipped breakfast at the Chateau, checked out and headed for Rotorua.
Stopped shortly at a mountainboarding event in Taupo. Next we went to the Huka Falls, a 'horizontal' falls (yes, we know,..., take our word for it).
Then visited Wai-o-tapu thermal park, before arranging a Maori cultural experience for the evening at Rotorua's tourist office. The weather was pretty grey again, making the otherwise colourful thermal pools look bleak and less spectacular. Had some trouble finding the Swiss Lodge, got there finally, very nice people, and a very beautiful location at the lake!
Pick-up for Maori Cultural Experience (pre-European village, traditional dance and song + hangi meal), man in souvenir shop with woodcarvings was most fascinating to listen to, Would have preferred to listen to him all night instead of going through the motion of this very well organised, but extremely commercialised set-up.
R also had to sing a Flemish song before being allowed of the bus ("Ik hou van u", Noordkaap).
Jean-Jacques Halans ©2003