New Zealand 2006:
Day 5 - Rotorua [Main] [Contact Us] [Events] [Family] [Fun] [Garden] [Misc.] [Photos] [Search] [Site Index] [Travel]

New Zealand 2006: [Day 1 - Auckland] [Day 2 - Matamata/Waitomo] [Day 3 - Waiheke Island] [Day 4 - Bungy] [Day 5 - Rotorua] [Day 6 - Napier] [Day 7 - At Sea] [Day 8 - Cruising] [Day 9 - Dunedin] [Day 10 - Christchurch] [Day 11 - Wellington] [Day 12 - At Sea] [Day 13 - Auckland]

Friday, March 17, 2006: At our first port of Tauranga, we took a full day tour to the town of Rotorua, which was an hour or two drive inland.
Our first visit was to the Agrodome, where we watched a show featuring many types of New Zealand sheep, and an onstage sheep shearing.
Next, there was a sheep dog demonstration, where this black and white dog managed to herd three lambs into a corral without even barking.
Having already enjoyed several flavors of New Zealand ice cream, we tried some more during our free time at the Agrodome complex. Tom opted for familiar chocolate, while Debbie sampled passion fruit ice cream. This is certainly not the most flattering camera angle.
As we left the main Agrodome location, we glimpsed the Zorb hill. We had truly hoped that we would have time to try this "sport," which consists of climbing into a large inflatable ball that has a bit of water inside, and slipsliding down the hill in it. We've wanted to do it since seeing it on the Amazing Race a few years ago, but alas! We had to hurry to our next destination. However, it is being imported to the US, so we may get to try it someday.
We had a buffet lunch at the Grand Tiara Hotel in Rotorua, which was followed by an excellent Maori song and dance show.
After lunch, we arrived at Te Puia, home of the New Zealand Maori Arts & Crafts Institute and Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley.
Our Maori guide showed us the arts and crafts buildings and the Maori buildings on the site. They are beautiful, intricately carved structures, inlaid with shell.
Our first glimpse of the geothermal valley through the trees and ferns was amazing.
The rest of our tour group visited the Kiwi House on the grounds, and were disappointed to learn that the kiwis were sleeping. Since we had already seen kiwis a few days earlier, we took some closeup looks at the amazing local foliage.
All along the paths in the geothermal valley are Maori words with their translations on bricks.
The first geothermal activity we encountered was the Ngamokaiakoko Mud Pool, which bubbles and sputters constantly.
Here is the sign that goes with it.
A bridge crosses a stream to get to the most active part of the valley. This area looks very much like the terrain in Yellowstone.
We circled around to the other side of this area to get a photo of the Blue Pool.
Here's another cool geothermal feature nearby.
While we were in this area, we were lucky enough to see Pohutu Geyser erupt.
It erupts roughly once an hour, for approximately five minutes, according to its sign. While we were there, it seemed to erupt for at least ten minutes, but it's hard to tell what part of the eruption is Pohutu and what part is the Prince of Wales geyser adjacent to it.
In any case, it erupted long enough to take lots of pictures of it.
From the bridge, it's easy to tell this this is two different geysers -- the Prince of Wales on the left, and Pohutu on the right.
We had to leave the area before the eruptions finished, but after we made our way back up the hill, we were still able to see the eruptions continuing in the distance. If you're a fan of geysers, visit our Yellowstone page and our Iceland pages. We were fortunate enough to visit the three largest geothermal locations on the planet in the past nine months, quite by accident.
Back on the boat, our tablemates Joyce, Lynnette, and Glenda joined us on deck to wave goodbye to Tauranga, Glenda's home.
The Tauranga harbour is gorgeous, with Mt. Maunganui attached at the far end by a narrow strip of land.
Here is Mt. Maunganui in all its glory. There is a hiking trail and a small road leading to the top.
As we headed out to sea, we passed a statue at the foot of Mt. Maunganui.
It's a the Maori statue of Tangaora, God of the Sea.
Once we were safely out to sea, the Tauranga Pilot boat came alongside our ship to pick up the harbour pilot. This is one of Tom's favorite sights when leaving a port.
The skies were sunny as we left beautiful Tauranga in the distance and headed toward Napier, our next port of call.

Day 6 >

New Zealand 2006: [Day 1 - Auckland] [Day 2 - Matamata/Waitomo] [Day 3 - Waiheke Island] [Day 4 - Bungy] [Day 5 - Rotorua] [Day 6 - Napier] [Day 7 - At Sea] [Day 8 - Cruising] [Day 9 - Dunedin] [Day 10 - Christchurch] [Day 11 - Wellington] [Day 12 - At Sea] [Day 13 - Auckland] [Main] [Contact Us] [Events] [Family] [Fun] [Garden] [Misc.] [Photos] [Search] [Site Index] [Travel]

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