Oh yes we blame it on Google! The missed day that is.
05.03.2014 - 07.03.2014 24 °C
Hi every one our time in NZ is fast coming to a close. We could spend the same time again and still not see all that interests us. We have now spent a couple of days in Rotorua and have since moved on to stay for a few days in the Coromandel area. Before we bring you up to date we must deal with the missing day! We are blaming our senior moment on Google. What we have now realised is that as we travelled eastwards at the start of our holiday and lost about 13 hours of time, the Google calendar on which we relied for our timetable and itinerary moved everything forward by one day. So we didn't lose the plot we were googled! I think Google should sort this out for travelling folk as it must be a common problem.
Anyway back to Rotorua. Despite the faint smell of bad eggs that pervades the whole area (on account of thermal vents and volcanic activity) Rotorua is quite a smart place. It has the largest concentration of Mauri people and most of the tourism businesses are Mauri owned and operated and this is a tradition that goes back to the 1860s when the first European tourists started to come to take the waters and see the geysers. There are lots of jokes on the subject of geysers, which Kiwis pronounce "guysers" not "geezers" as we do. On our first afternoon here we went down to the main museum and were treated to an earth moving moment. Whilst sat on benches in a small cinema watching a film about the history of the town the film relayed the account of an event in 1866 when there was a violent volcanic eruption that caused the death of 120 people many of whom were European Tourists. At this point the benches started to shake violently accompanied by very convincing noises. It was quite effective and took us by surprise albeit there were warnings that young children and people with heart conditions etc should not attend! The museum was housed in a beautiful old Victorian style former Bath House that was set in parkland with several bowling greens which were being used. It looked like a very English scene apart from the weather which was much too sunny!
On the camp site there was a spa pool served by thermal waters at a constant temperature of 37 centigrade, very nice. The following day we had an overload of geysers, thermal vents, bubbling mud pools, colourful rock formations, multicoloured lakes and to top it off a Mauri cultural evening with music and dancing and the Haka followed by a hangi meal, ie a meal cooked in a pit heated by hot rocks. It was a great evening, Christine was not inclined to get up on the stage when invited to try the pom pom swinging and dancing, known as "poi" but very embarrassingly and unfortunately with pictures to prove it Frank did get up and do the Haka, not very convincingly especially when he stamped on the foot of the guy next to him!
So today we have moved on to Coromandel and after much debate and soul searching we've decided to stay here for two nights, then one night at the Kauaeranga Valley at the base of the Coromandel Peninsular and then finally on to Auckland for our last night. This means we will not get up to the Bay of Islands after all - we would just not have time to do it justice. Anyway it's hot and sunny here and there are some lovely walks as the coastline is fabulous. Loads of sea food to try too!