Friday, March 27, 2015

Day 31 New Zealand - Rotorua

Tuesday 24th March, 2015 - (GS39) Discover Rotorua Morning Tour

Transfer Type: Seat in Coach
Duration: 4.67 hour(s)
Pick up: 7:35am Millennium Hotel Rotorua , Rotorua , New Zealand
Drop off: 12:15pm Millennium Hotel Rotorua , Rotorua , New Zealand

Yet another very early start. We are on a small bus this time. It is pouring rain and our first stop is outside.

Today on your morning tour you will visit Te Puia and the Maori Arts and Crafts Institute where
you can view mighty geysers, boiling mud pools, and the traditional arts and culture of the Maori

We are quickly learning that this is the worst bunch of tourists so far, and there are only seventeen.
Everyone is late,don't listen.

We are met by Shane, who is our Maori guide.

Even though it is raining the geyser cooperates and it is a site to behold.

Sitting atop the sinter terraces known as Geyser Flat is the largest active geyser in the southern hemisphere – or as we call it, Pohutu. This world-famous celebrity with an explosive personality is one of the most photographed attractions in all of Rotorua.

We then walk over to see the mud pools known as Nga Mokai a Koko – ‘The playthings of Koko’.

This mud pool is the largest and most impressive at Te Puia, with a depth of between 6-10 metres. Although activity is dependent on rainfall, the steaming bursts of mud reach temperatures of approximately 90- 95°C.

Shane then sat us down and gave us some background into the Maori way of life.
I will write more on the Maori later.

Ancestors of Māori arrived on canoes from Pacific islands before 1300 AD. Settling first on the coast, they hunted seals and moas. Then they also began to grow food, and some moved to the forests. They lived in small tribal groups, with a rich culture of spoken stories, and strong traditions of warfare. Their ancestors, and the gods of the natural world, were very important.
Europeans arrive

The arrival of Europeans from the early 1800s had a major effect on these early communities. Among the newcomers were missionaries, and many Māori became Christians. They learnt to read and began trading, especially in pigs and potatoes.

In 1840 the Treaty of Waitangi established British law and government, but it could not prevent warfare in the 1840s and 1860s as Māori sought to defend their lands and local authority. After the wars Māori lost land through confiscation and sale, mostly to British settlers.

You will have a hands on experience at the Agrodome Sheep Show, giving you an animated insight into New Zealand's farming history.

As we are driving we can see blues skies forming a circle around us. The guide explains it is because Rototua is a caldera.
Caldera eruptions leave behind large craters in the Earth – not what we think of when someone says volcano

The Rotorua Caldera is one of several large volcanoes located in the Taupo Volcanic Zone on the North Island of New Zealand. Its last major eruption was about 240,000 years ago. At this time, the Mamaku ignimbrite, covering about 4000 square km, was deposited. After the eruption, the magma chamber underneath the volcano collapsed. The circular depression left behind is the current caldera, about 22 km (14 mi) in diameter and now occupied by Lake Rotorua. Mokoia Island, close to the centre of the lake, is a rhyolite dome. There are other domes like Hinemoa Point, Ngongotaha, Pohaturoa and Pukeroa.

 The most recent magmatic eruption occurred less than 25,000 years ago, creating some of the smaller lava domes.There is also much geothermal activity as we have seen at the geysers.

This was not what I expected, a full blown show dedicated to sheep with a lot of Kiwi humour thrown in.

In the heart of 350 acres of lush farmland, yet only 10 minutes from Rotorua city centre, you’ll find New Zealand’s Agrodome.

For over 40 years, visitors from all over the globe have come to the Agrodome to see our world-famous Farm Show – starring a cast of talented animals.

The auditorium is quite full, mostly Asians from Korea and Taiwan.

Peeking around the corner! Waitinf for his turn on stage.

Wn knew there were so many types of sheep??

From 1982 to 2011, New Zealand’s sheep population declined to 31.1 million from 70.2 million, according to government data, as many sheep pastures were converted to dairy farms or other uses. The roughly 17,000 sheep farmers who remain still earn money from selling the fleece of their animals. But on many sheep farms, meat has replaced wool as the primary profit maker.

Seems a sheep grows back his wool within six months. the market for wool has declined rapidly as more and more synthetic fabrics are produced. Merino wool is lovely but it is very expensive.

 We leave the show and wander outside.

We later watched the demonstration.

We hadn't had breakfast so John was dying for a coffee.

Into the wool shop, very tempted but very expensive.

Mean looking buggers!!!

You will also experience Rainbow Springs which is a unique showcase of New Zealand's flora and fauna including New Zealand's national icon, a kiwi bird.
Rainbow Springs is truly an attraction like no other in the world. Set in 22 acres of beautiful native trees and streams we are home to a huge variety of New Zealand’s most precious inhabitants.

We now have blue skies for this tour.

As we enter we are posed for photos that will be photoshopped to show us holding a kiwi in our hands and another with a tuatara on our arms.

It is  thought that allowing the farming of trout would disadvantage Kiwi and overseas recreational fishers. Although you can’t buy and sell trout here, you can sell the experience of catching one, and this brings many millions of tourist dollars into the country. Certain diseases can occur in trout farms and be spread into the wild stock, and there’s also the danger of poaching.

This is Jenny the kea. hand reared. 24 years old, she has killed both her partners. She lays an unfertilized egg but will sit on it for several months, waiting for it to hatch. So she would be a good mother but not a very good wife!!

 Male kea.

The moa were nine species (in six genera) of flightless birds endemic to New Zealand. The two largest species, Dinornis robustus and Dinornis novaezelandiae, reached about 3.6 m (12 ft) in height with neck outstretched, and weighed about 230 kg (510 lb) When Polynesians settled New Zealand in 1280, the moa population was about 58,000.

Moa extinction occurred in 1440 ± 20 years, primarily due to overhunting by Māori.

You can get Moa "juice" nowadays.

A stuffed kiwi as you are not allowed to take pictures of the real ones.

We finally got to see one running around in the dark. Kiwis are flightless birds native to New Zealand, in the genus Apteryx and family Apterygidae. At around the size of a domestic chicken, kiwi are by far the smallest living ratites (which also consist of ostriches, emus, rheas, and cassowaries), and lay the largest egg in relation to their body size of any species of bird in the world.

All species have been negatively affected by historic deforestation but currently the remaining large areas of their forest habitat are well protected in reserves and national parks. At present, the greatest threat to their survival is predation by invasive mammalian predators. Namely the possum and stoats.

We have been lucky on this trip to see kiwis, emus and cassowaries!

As always we exit through the gift shop where we stop to see our photoshopped photos. There are ok but they seem silly knowing they were "fixed".

 Back on the bus, the driver stops for some passengers to change buses at the terminal, and we get off, adios to a bunch of idiot tourists! We know our way around and it would have taken an hour for the bus to drop us off while the driver explained, once again, where they would be boarding their next bus.

We decide to have an Ulster fry at the Irish pub. That is a big fry up with eggs, ham, sausages, mushrooms and tomatoes with toast. Huge.

We stroll back to the hotel for the afternoon, stopping on the way. We have to get packed up for another early pick up in the morning as we are out for the evening.

Rotorua Journey of Ages

Transfer Type: Seat in Coach
Duration: 3.17 hour(s)
Pick up: 5:20pm Millennium Hotel Rotorua , Rotorua , New Zealand
Drop off: 8:30pm Millennium Hotel Rotorua , Rotorua , New Zealand

We get all gussied up for the evening out. On our balcony, across from the sulphur springs.

This evening you will engage in a wonderful experience at the Tamaki Maori Village. Enroute
your guide will instruct you on the rules and protocol for visiting Marae (meeting grounds).

Our guide is Bill, and he is charming and a very proud Maori.

I am only going to showt a few photos here as I will go into detail in another post.

Mike Tamaki had the business dream of setting up a pre-European Māori village. He was already working in the tourism industry as a tour guide and driver for Intercity Travel, but this new venture was very different.

Mike’s vision was for visitors to the Māori village to experience first-hand a cultural experience like no other. However, his dream was at a standstill until he could raise the capital to fund his idea.

Mike got rejected by all the banks before he managed to convince his younger brother Doug to lend him the money. So in 1989, after selling Doug’s beloved Harley Davidson motorcycle, the two brothers used the money to buy a 16-seater minibus. This was the start of their business, Tamaki Tours, a Māori Village based 15 minutes south of Rotorua.

The brothers worked very hard to create an experience that portrays the history and spirit of their Māori ancestors as realistically as possible.

On arrival at the venue, nobody must enter the fortified village until the Powhiri (formal welcome)
has been performed.

The host tribe will send out a toa (warrior) who will challenge the guests, via their elected chief to ascertain if they come in peace.

A Teka (peace offering) is placed and received by one of the visiting chiefs. At the Village, the Karanga, or "welcome call", will echo across the courtyard, followed by the Powhiri (welcome dance).

You will then be able to enter onto the village grounds where the Tangata Whenua (people of the land) will demonstrate different activities such as poi twirling, hand games, weaponry displays, reciting chants and displaying activities of an era gone by.

All  the men learning the dance.

The buffet style dinner will be held in the meetinghouse dining hall and will have everyone
enjoying a succulent Hangi feast.

Our dinner being taken from the oven.

Everything was cooked in the ground and was absolutely delicious, lamb, vegetables, potatoes and chicken accompanied by salads, fish and mussels.
We met a delightful couple, Cheryl and Greg, from Springfield MO and promised to keep in touch.

The evening ends with the Poroporoaki, the official closing ceremony and you will be safely transferred back to your accommodation.

Bill, our driver was great fun. He asked our "chief" who was from England, to start a singalong.
Bill then did You Are My Sunshine. We came to a roundabout and Bill asked if we knew She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain and we proceeded to sing this as Bill went around and around the roundabout.

Bill, going around and around.


  1. I have just relived my visit to Roturua. Fortunately I had a cold when I visited Te Puia so could enjoy to the full without experiencing the strong sulphurous smells. Much to my surprise I also enjoyed the Agrodome. Hope you went for a relaxing soak in the thermal spa. One of the delights for me on that trip as no-one else on the tour was there. It was one of the biggest mistakes I have made doing a coach tour of New Zealand with a group that just wanted numerous comfort stops and few action stops!

    1. We were lucky that we did do coach tours but they were set up separately so .e were never with the same group of people. I have heard other horror stories form people who have booked with the same group

  2. The geological features are amazing... and I'm fascinated by Maori culture.

  3. we did enjoy an afternoon soak in the thermal spas which was extremely relaxing.


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