Rotorua - what a lovely place. Far better than expected....... clean (with just a little sulpher smells) modern wide streets and shopping facilities and pleny of good quality restaurants.
A great B&B , ina self contained unit at the rear of the owners house. A great couple, full of life, jokes and very entertaining and helpful.
An early 8am start to one of the Maori Villages _ Te Puia with its very interesting maori villages life, geysers, mud pools, an internationally renowne maori carving school, and a kiwi house. So we have now seen a true Kiwi bird......its about the size of a small chicken, fur not feathers, flightless, a long beak and nocturnal. It was in a controlled lighting house, so slept at night when the lights were switched on.
We then went back to this venue for a maori cultural show, and hangi meal in the evening. Very good too.
In the afternoon we drove out to a site of a Buried Village, devastated by an volcannic eruption 100 years back and now partially excavated. This village was buried in several metres of debris and 150 people lost their lives. It destroyed their tourism as the place bosted the best natural hot springs, saunas etc in wonderful hillside cascades of coloured rock pools, known as the Pink and White terrace....people from all over the world visted this place, all to be lost in one night. A really moving experiance to see the place and learn so much at the museun about their life at that time.
The next daywe moved onto Taupo for just one night, visiting a place called the Hidden valley. Again , all at Rotorua but included a smaller version of the terraces that were lost at the Buried Village. A wonderful sight of multi coloured silica glistening in the sunshine.
At Taupo we visted the Huka Falls, a truely awesome set of waterfalls and rapids water from the huge Taupo lake. The river has 8 hydro generating staion along its lengths, controlled by dam etc. We walked to one of them ( a 4 hr return). Every 2 hrs they release the waters through the dam to give an incredible display of water going through the rapids. Brilliant.