Friday, September 12, 2014

Friday: Waitomo -> Rotorua

I got an early start, getting gas and a decent greasy breakfast soon after leaving Waitomo. I was taking a bit of a scenic route to Rotorua, which meant less major highways, and the signage wasn't as good as I've gotten accustomed to. I had to pull over a few times to check my bearings, which slowed me down a bit. I arrived in Rotorua around 10:30, and headed straight to the Maori village of  Whakarewarewa, where I saw a Maori cultural presentation (singing and dancing, including a haka), and the. Got a tour of the village and thermal areas in it.

Tiki statue in the village. The big eyes and tongue stuck out are part of some of the dances

Steam box built atop a natural vent, used for cooking the village's food!

At the end I hung around the viewing platform for the Pohutu geyser, which is supposed to go off about every hour and a half. I ended up waiting almost two hours for it; it was a decent show when it finally did start shooting hot water up in the air.

Pohutu geyser

Cruised the downtown area looking for a place that was open for lunch, which wasn't easy given that it was 3pm during low season. I wound up having a pretty crummy light lunch of chicken and roast potatoes.

I drove to my motel and checked in, then drove right to the Rotorua Museum to squeeze in a visit before it closed. The museum is in what used to be a bath house, and some of the old bath fixtures are on display. There was also a good film showing the history of the area and the building, including the earthquake that destroyed the original tourist attraction (the pink and white thermal terraces) in 1886.

Drove along the lakeshore a bit and then parked the car downtown and walked around a bit before having dinner at a nice Indian restaurant.

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