Tongariro to Rotorua

We had a fully cooked breakfast for $5 each i.e. an extra $10 on our room cost, at Adventure Lodge at National Park, and then headed off to Rotorua via a few stops.

I had way too much on our itinerary for today, and we dropped off quite a few items. We still stopped at this lookout, though.

Motuoapa Lookout

We carried on past Lake Taupo, and the town of Taupo, but didn’t stop.

Our next stop was at Huka Falls. I was pondering whether I’d been here before or not (before going to visit them) and saw a Contiki Bus pull in. Obivously, I’d been here in 1985, if not in 2004… The falls are pretty amazing! There’s enough water coming down them to fill 5 Olympic sized swimming pools per minute!!

Huka Falls

Huka Falls

Then we pushed on to Wai-o-tapu Thermal area. I’d been here before, in 2004, and wanted my sister to see it. I didn’t realise how big this area was. I’m sure last time we only did about one third of the walks available, whereas we did them all today. It’s a pretty amazing place!

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

The mud pools were pretty interesting too. (Are you singing “God loves New Zealand, he gave us boiling mud”?)

delete me

Wai-o-tapu Thermal Area

After this, we headed into Rotorua, to see the Redwoods and have lunch there. We tried to use OSMAnd again, since there was no data for Google, and it tried to send us along a bike track. So we headed into town until we got signal and let it navigate for us. I LOVE GOOGLE MAPS!! Just so everyone knows.

Anyway, we had our lunch of avocade on bread, and strawberries and pears, and then went for a short walk through the redwoods and fern trees, and even saw a silver fern. It was just beautiful in the forest! Even the toilets were lovely (on the outside).

Toilets at the Redwoods

The Redwoods

The Redwoods

The Redwoods - Silver Fern

The Redwoods

There were a lot of ferntrees mixed in with the redwoods. One in particular was extremely tall (my sister is standing in front of it), but still dwarfed by the redwoods.

The Redwoods

The Redwoods - Ela in front of enormous fern tree dwarfed by redwood trees

We then checked into our accommodation and walked to Ohinemutu Village, which is quite nearby. However, it seemed to be closed, so we walked across the road instead and got ourselves some beers and bourbon to have in the spa at the motel. Mmmmmmm.

In the evening we went to the Mitai Maori Village Hangi. They picked us up from the motel (so I could drink another little beer) and we bussed it to the village. This was here in town, next to Rainbow Springs.

On arrival, we paid and were allocated a table with some British and American people. Once everyone was seated, the MC welcomed us in many languages and then half the ‘tribe of many nations’ went to uncover the hangi and see if it was cooked.

The Mitai Maori Village Hangi

The Mitai Maori Village Hangi

After that, we were taken over to see a war canoe.

The Mitai Maori Village Hangi

Then we went down to the stream where we were greeted by a war canoe full of warriors. I didn’t get a shot of them sticking their tongue out, unfortunately.

The Mitai Maori Village Hangi

The Mitai Maori Village Hangi

The Mitai Maori Village Hangi - the chief

The Mitai Maori Village Hangi

After that, we were taken to an ampitheater for the actual welcoming by the chief and a few ‘tribal dances’ and demonstrations. It was actually quite well arranged so that your view wasn’t blocked much. But it was too dark to take any photos once the sun set.

The Mitai Maori Village Hangi

The Mitai Maori Village Hangi

The Mitai Maori Village Hangi

The Mitai Maori Village Hangi

The Mitai Maori Village Hangi

Then it was time for dinner. There was plenty to feast on, that’s for sure. And it was all very nice! There was plenty of chicken and lamb and kumara and potatoes and salads of all sorts and scalloped potatoes….

The Mitai Maori Village Hangi - food!

After dinner, before we could finish our cups of tea, those who’d paid the extra were taken over to Rainbow Springs to see some glow-worms on the way there, and then a kea and trout and finally a couple of kiwis. We weren’t allowed to take photos of the kiwis. It would have been too dark anyway – we could only see a vague shape.

Then we were picked up by bus and taken back to our accommodation. All in all, the Mitai thing was fun and delicious, but too expensive at $138 a head.

Big day in Rotorua tomorrow and then visiting my friend’s in-laws!

Reworked and larger sized pictures from this day are here. Click on the first picture and then move through them at full screen size.

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