Day 6-7: Rotorua, Te Puia, and the Polynesian Spa
Rotorua is the site of New Zealand’s geothermal hot springs. It also features Maori culture, the indigenous people of New Zealand.
We spent our first day here touring Te Puia, the site of a geyser amongst the geothermal grounds and a Maori culture center where they showcase traditional carving, craftwork, and host evening dinner and shows for tourists. It’s a bit… luau-ish… but actually, Maori culture stems from Hawaii, so I guess it’s okay? And I mean… it’s all in support of the Maori people. As for comparison to Hawaiian culture, Maori is a bit more intimidating… since I think one of their more iconic expressions is this wide-eyed stare where they stick their tongues out. It’s meant to be intimidating.
The 2nd day was spent at a Polynesian Spa, soaking in natural hot springs and getting massages. Our designated driver really needed it. It was beautiful there, but just be glad photos don’t come with scent.
So… I learned that geothermal pools means sulfur. And sulfur means rotten eggs. The whole town smelled of it. Not so much the downtown area, but our hotel was closer to the sulfuric activity than I would have liked. I think I got a headache from it on the last day. >.< Personally? I was glad to leave this place behind. It was pretty… and I enjoyed my intro to Maori art. But the smells… I’ll remember to check next time if the hot spring is sulfur-based or not.
Day 8: Napier
We really REALLY should have stayed longer here. Napier wasn’t near anything we wanted to do, so we only booked 1 night, but it had the best hotel we stayed at and had some of the best views we got to see. I guess no matter where we go, the coastline is always the most gorgeous. We spent some time frolicking on a local beach that wasn’t great, but was the best we could manage in our limited time. And I had the best meal I’ve had in New Zealand there at the Thirsty Whale! And the sunset! Wow. That was not edited. The skies were purple just like that!
One more post next. The final destination, Wellington, had a lot to share.