Transit from Taupo to Rotorua was short and full of lush, green fields, which was very nice. It meant that we were heading to somewhere relatively clean with fresh air. Or so we thought. Well, the clean part is true.
Upon entering the outskirts of Rotorua you are immediately welcomed by the lovely smell of sulphur! Rotorua is built around lots of geothermal fields and mineral pools. So much so, there’s an abundance of geothermal mineral spas to satisfy the locals and tourists. Of course, being the world travelled tourists that we are, Sheena and I had to partake. A local trip to the local i-site confirmed what we had found out within the Lonely Planet guide, that the Polynesian Spa was the place to go.
To say that we both enjoyed our time there would be seriously understating things. We tried several mineral pools with water temperatures ranging from 36ºC to 42ºC. The warmer temperatures were just too much for me, but Sheena appeared to enjoy them. I think that the sheer amount of miles we have covered over the last 15 days finally caught up with us in Rotorua. The spa visit was the best thing we did to help us recover from our mileage induced fatigue. That, and a welcomed afternoon nap after an award winning lunch!
Lunch was provided by the legendary Fat Dog cafe & bar. These guys are regularly featured within the New Zealand Lonely Planet guide, and rightly so. Their choice of food, and service, is amazing. A pair of Dogs Bollox burgers (yes, that was the name of the burger) were duly consumed!
So, after lunch, and a nap, our evening was spent at the Tamaki Maori village. We were picked up around 6:45PM, and were at the village 40 minutes later.
The journey to/from the village was as much fun as the Maori experience itself. Our driver, Denis, was teaching us various Maori words, singing us songs, and generally taking the mickey out of everyone on the bus. Suffice to say it was a fun journey to/from the village, and quite the icebreaker too!
If I could recommend just one thing that visitors to New Zealand should do, it’s this. The Tamaki Maori Village evening experience was one of the best things that Sheena and I have done since we got here.
The culture and heritage of the Maori people is still honoured and shared by these people, and it’s done in a very engaging and enlightening way. Audience participation is a must for most of the activities within the village, including Poi (for the ladies) and the Haka (for the guys). After all of the Maori cultural and entertainment is finished, there is the Hangi, or feast.
Overall, it was a great evening of culture, laughs, and food. What more could you ask for?
Tomorrow will be another day of nerdgasm as we’re off to The Hobbiton movie set tour!