A blipper blipped

Back blipped on 2nd May

Today started with a visit to Te Puia, a thermal park, and also an opportunity to see some Maori crafts and a cultural event.  In the thermal park there is a very active geyser, called Pohutu (see 1st extra), thermal springs in abundance, and a large mud pool.  In the Maori bit, we were able to watch them carving wood, and working on pounamu (greenstone), and then we watched a show demonstrating various Maori dances, including a Haka.  This visit had been suggested by Nangee (Dell).  It was the sort of organised activity we would normally steer clear of, but we really enjoyed it.  After the show, we met Dell, and walked around the thermal park once again.  

We then drove into Rotorua, Dell leading the way to Government Park, where we admired the museum (converted from a Bath House) from a distance – most is closed off at the moment, awaiting strengthening against earthquake.  We were able to leave our car here, and both piled into Dell's car.  She then took us on a tour of various sites in and around Rotorua.  

First a walk around Kiurau Park, where I was able to take many wonderful photos of drifting steam.  Dell has blipped us, so I return the compliment – you can just see her, just to the left of centre.  I also liked the PÅ«kako, drinking from one of the many thermal pools (2nd extra).

We then made a couple of stops on the edge of Lake Rotorua, first to see the sulphur flats, and then the rather pretty Maori church, the Maori marae (sort of the central square of a Maori village).  There were many Maori around the region of Rotorua, so a number of marae around the lake.  Also here was the cemetery for soldiers, mainly Maori.  They cannot be buried due to the thermal activity, so are entombed above ground.  It is here the ANZAC day dawn parade takes place.

Dell then took us on a tour of local lakes.  We drove past Blue Lake and Green Lake, to Lake Tarawera.  There was a wonderful view across Lake Tarawera, to Mount Tarawera, which last erupted in 1886 (see 3nd extra).

This was followed by a side trip to Lake Okareka, where we were able to walk a short way along a boardwalk.  There were lots of welcome swallows flying low over the water.

Finally, we returned towards Rotorua, stopping for a walk through redwoods.  These trees are of course not native, but very impressive (4th extra).  Sadly, our enjoyment was limited slightly by the large number of other tourists, and also the visible evidence of their passing, with damage, often considerable, to their bark from rubbing.

All in all, a wonderful, exhausting day.  Thanks so much to Dell for being such a great guide.

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