Rotorua - Maoris, Thermals, Sheep and Zorbs
14 Nov 2005
|K: Rotorua smells but its good fun! It is a thermal region and so has a sulphorous odour and its known as Roto-Vegas because it is a major tourist spot in the North Island.
Our first stop was the Polynesian Spas on the banks of Lake Rotorua to relax. They had four pools of different temperature (up to 42 degrees) with all sorts of good minerals again for you and thankfully bathing suits were obligatory! We did have a tour of Japanese join us and they were all suitable dressed too which pleased me!
After some soaking we went to the Tamaki Maori village for a concert and traditional Hangi feast. The Maori are naturally born singers and we really enjoyed the concert as well as seeing and hearing about tradtional Maori culture.
The Hangi is a method of cooking where they dig a whole in the ground and place hot stones at the bottom and then place wrapped meat, veggies and desert on the stones, in that order, and cover them with sand. The food was really good but had a very distinctive smokey flavour.
The next day we got up early to head to the Wai-o-tapu thermal area to see the 10am eruption of the Lady Knox geyser. They get it to erupt by adding soap flakes to the geyser, this lowers the pressure it the top chamber and causes it to shoot hot water and steam into the air. The guide explained it had originally been found by some prisoners, they were washing their dirty clothes in the hot pool but when they added soap the obvious happened and they had to rescue their clothes from the surrounding trees!
We also went to the Agrodome and learnt all about differnt types of sheep and saw a display of sheep shearing and I got to milk a cow on stage (I got a bit excited and volunteered). Very impressive, particularly since the world record is something ridiculous like almost 800 sheep sheared by one man in a 8 hour day!
Ben was always going to try zorbing at the Agrodome (Rotorua is THE place to Zorb in NZ apparently), but I decided since it didn't actually leave the ground that it actually looked quite a laugh! We tried the hyrozorb together, which is the both of us in the middle of the Zorb (not strapped in) with some water - we got soaked but it was brilliant fun!
B: I very much enjoyed the Maori village. Our hosts had a sense of humour and didn't take themselves too seriously. We had a full-on eye-bulging, tongue-poking haka performance which was something I had always wanted to see.
The Maori ladies performed with their po (balls of flax) which they spin and bounce off their bodies in rhythm to the music - it's quite an act of skill which has top be seen to be believed. The Maori singing was the highlight as they have such distinctive voices and melodies. I nearly bought a CD until I remembered that I don't have a CD player with me!
The Agrodome was entertaining in a good old-fashioned way and I was shocked to see K's hand go up when they asked for cow milking volunteers. Something she always wanted to do apparently - amazing what you don't know about those you live with. Anyway, turns out that she's a natural at it.
Zorbing was great fun and if anyone is thinking of doing it make sure you do it wet. It was like being in a washing machine. Needless to say, K screamed the whole way down like the big girl she is. We both enjoyed it and will try to get our parents in one when they come over. I think the adrenline rush has gone to K's head as she now talking about doing a skydive!