“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ....Oscar Wilde

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Rotorua, North Island....New Zealand (Part 2)

How much can you fit into a day? Plenty if you're committed...or should that read we should be committed?
We tried to fit in four attractions in one day!
But when there is so much to see and do then its full steam ahead...

Which leads me quite nicely into our next attraction...HELL’S GATE?
Hell's Gate is Rotorua's most active geothermal park featuring boiling hot pools and erupting waters with temperatures in excess of 100 degrees celsius; steaming fumaroles; hot water lakes; sulphur crystals and deposits; New Zealand's largest active mud volcano; Southern Hemisphere's largest hot water fall and even examples of land coral.
The Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw upon visiting in the early 1900's, gave it the English name "Hellsgate" as he gazed upon the land,  as he believed he had arrived at the gates to Hell.

So let's enter Hell's Gate....

Here's an information board to give you lots more detail if you have the time or the inclination for more...
just click and zoom in....

As you can imagine it can be a dangerous place to walk around and you are seriously advised to keep to the footpath. I didn't need telling twice, but we went one step further (hehe...sorry no pun intended it just popped up) anyway we decided to employ a guide and he did a fantastic job of giving so much more detail than what was written on the little plaques.
I had such a giggle when I read this signpost...
Just in case you can't see it clearly, it reads
Warning...persons who throw litter or stones into the thermal pools may be asked to retrieve them!

TV crews come to this place to film for advertisements ~ as you can imagine it's perfect!

After we'd finish our tour there was an opportunity to try our hand at some traditional carving...
I wasn't to be trusted with a knife...although it wasn't a knife as such; more a curved chisel but we found a volunteer very near!

 You choose a design out of the four that have been pre drawn for you depending on the which you like or is more appropriate to you.

Then away you go...

I watched the master at work...oh yes hubby wasn't bad either ;D
After all that hard work we were in need of some relaxation....
so what more could you want than to visit a spa.

Well yes but I have to admit I wasn't initially sure about the Mud spa....but after stepping into the warm goo....ahh...you just knew it was doing good ;D
Plus we had such a giggle. 
It was my hubby's first spa!

Fantastic...but be aware you do have a certain aroma for a few days after your visit and you might want to keep up wind of people just in case!

So enough relaxing for now....we still had things to do...place to see!
How about some white water rafting? 
It is one of the big 5 of New Zealand after all....

Can you see me? ;D
Phewph...back to the Lake House to get ready for tonight's event....drum roll please...
We're to visit the Mitai Maori Village for a cultural evening plus Hangi meal.
Our hosts had organised and booked the evening event with courtesy transport too.

Kia ora (Hello in Maori)

(Do you think my hubby was taking it all too seriously? hehe)

This was a fantastic introduction into the Maori culture and heritage.

Firstly, we were shown the traditional ground cooking Hangi Feast where our meal had been cooking over hot stones in a pit for hours...succulent New Zealand lamb and chicken, potatoes (riwai), sweet potato (kumara) and stuffing (a combination of bread, mixed herbs, corn, carrots and peas).

 We also had side dishes of scalloped potatoes baked with a cheese topping, freshly baked garlic bread and a range of salads, plus a fantastic rich brown gravy and thick mint sauce.
After such a busy day I have to say this truly was a feast!
Oh yes...and there were desserts too. Tropical fresh fruit salad, chocolate log, pavlova (which was delish) plus trifle with cream. And a bar!

The cultural experience was set in tranquil natural bush setting where we were taken back in time when the ancient Maori customs and traditions were part of everyday life. Through songs and dances plus tales and legends told, we learnt a great deal about the fascinating past.
We heard tales of how the Maori people interacted with the European settlers many generations ago, music, carvings and ta moko (tattooing).
Tattoos are just one of the ways that demonstrate the strong ties that Maori people have with their cultural heritage. The displays of weaponry and combat that were shown during the performance are captivating.
As well as the poi dance and of course the haka finale!
We also were privileged to see the hand carved ancient war canoe (the waka) being paddled down the Wai-o-whiro stream by warriors in traditional dress which was brilliant.

We also took part in a torchlight bush walk to the crystal clear water of the sacred Fairy Spring flowing directly from the earth, which was full of eels and trout.
The Fairy Spring releases over twenty four million litres of pure spring water every day!
Then we were asked to switch off our torches which plunged us into complete darkness....
this highlighted the glow worms!
We also added on an additional stroll through the bush observing the flora and wildlife at night including the new walk-through outdoor kiwi enclosure. No glass partitions in-between so you are really close to them although I have to say they are very good at hiding in the dark! I had to see a kiwi before my New Zealand experience was complete...it was on my tick list....and this was the best way to ensure that I did.
I actually saw two, but unfortunately I couldn't use a camera or even a phone to capture them and we had to be so quiet because the kiwis have exceptional hearing.
The Mitai village was a very special place to visit that I can fully recommend visitors to experience.

So we will leave Rotorua and drive further south to our next destination....
I'll hopefully meet up with you again for more of our New Zealand experience.

In the meantime...I hope you're having a great week ~ enjoy! 


  1. I remember watching my dad's video of the mud! Great place, he went and saw the white water rafting too but didn't take part! Great pics, you sure are having an adventure! Take care Zo xx

    1. Morning Zo,
      I've also got video footage of quite a few of the attractions but thought it might be a little too much to add to the posts...but if I admit to it I tried and Youtube didn't want to play! I may have another go because the Maori warriors caneo scene was fantastic ;D
      We're on to our final few destinations now ~ phewph ~ holidays can be tiring...I'll need another to recover!

      Hopefully you're having a great week too. I'll see you soon :D

  2. Terrific post, it's almost like being there with you. Love all your photos, especially the ones of the hot springs. Impressed that you managed so many experiences in one day ... you're not wasting a minute and you can always rest when you get back home again :) Elizabeth xx

    1. That's exactly what I thought Elizabeth...rest later! ;D
      I'm so happy that everyone seems to be enjoying coming along with us. I know I enjoy trips on other peoples blogs and thought there are so many interesting things here it would be a shame not to share them.

      We've got a few more destinations to visit, but then it's time to get back to reality. Ironing, chores, work....(sigh)

      I hope your week is going well and that you are having a great time whatever you get up to. :D

  3. oh my gosh, what an amazing place to visit, wow, such an exciting exotic adventure! Beautiful!!!! So much to do and see!

    1. Hehe I'm so glad you came with us Laurie ;D
      Just a few more destinations before we're done so stay tuned as they say!

      (I owe you an email and hopefully I'll get to that later today).

      Have a wonderful Wednesday in the meantime :D

  4. I did a few of those things too, some years ago, so your post is a great reminder of them. Did you not go to the Glow-worm caves? I can't remember exactly where they are, but I do remember visiting them on the same day as Rotorua. You seem to have done EVERYTHING... Anyway, Im glad you are having such a brilliant time!

    1. OH NO Mark we didn't get to the Glow-worm caves so we'll have to go back!!! LOL ;D
      With seeing the glow-worms at the Fairy Springs, we thought that was enough, but I believe the caves are amazing. Not too sure I like going into caves...I'm one of those that don't like confined spaces.

      Not quite done everything...but can't see myself bungy jumping!
      Nothing on this planet would persuade me to step off a tiny ledge over a gigantic drop, bounce, dangle and hang upside down on the end of an elastic! Not for all the tea in China (and I'm a real teapot) ;D

      Have a great week and I'm happy that my post has brought some great memories back. :D

  5. Ooooo! Another wonderful day of vacation with you. I could imagine the sights and the mud soak without the smells (I still remember what the Yellowstone sulfur pits smelled like and I was there when I was ten in 1961! I walked around holding a little bar of motel soap under my nose--LOL! Thanks for taking me along again. ;)

    1. Yeah Rita it was a little pongy!
      I wasn't as switched on as you because I didn't think to take a bar of soap along with me ;D

      But I have to warn you...we're reaching the end of our trip soon. Only a few more destinations left!

      In the meantime stay cosy until we reach our next location :D

  6. WOW! I'm breathless with excitement just reading all that! What incredibly wonderful experiences! Memories to last forever.
    Cor! What next?! I hope time slows down a fair bit I really don't want this adventure to end :0)

    1. Hi Twinkle Toes...are you twinkling today?
      I'm so thrilled you are enjoying our trip but it's coming to a close soon. ;D
      I know I don't want it to end either...just imagine the ironing basket and dust waiting ~ yuk! Nah let's not.

      Have a good week until we arrive at our next destination.
      Have fun and I'll see you soon. :D

  7. What an interesting place to visit. Thanks for sharing the views.


    1. My pleasure Darla,
      How are you and the gang...I feel I've been away for ages.
      I promise I'll catch up with you all soon.

      In the meantime thanks for stopping by and I hope you're having a great week. ;D

  8. Again, thank you for letting us "be" with you on holidays via posts. :) I also laughed with the warning sign. :P

    1. Apologies for not replying to your comment sooner Alex...it's been a little silly lately, but I hope to get organised and up to date soon.
      Well that's the plan anyway! ;D

      I'm happy to hear I made you laugh...it's a brilliant sign isn't it!
      Have to say it made me a little nervous and wary though lol

      Have a great week whatever you get up to...have fun! :D


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