Chip & Bere Tour to New Zealand and Australia – New Zealand Day 04

Southern Africa Conservation and Communities Tour to New Zealand and Australia – July and August 2011. Friday

 

1st July – Rotorua

After breakfast  on Friday morning, we left Auckland and drove to Rotorua, arriving at lunch time at a well maintained motel called Malfroy’s Motor Lodge and were greeted by our friendly hosts, Ron and his wife Mairi, www.malfroymotorlodge.co.nz.  Having established an ecologically viable geothermal re-injection system, guests have exclusive use of their genuine mineral hot pool or a geo-thermally heated plunge pool in private gardens allowing for a therapeutic and relaxing experience in an eco-friendly environment.  It is a sustainable system which is utilised above ground, the re-injection bore allows all of the waters being taken out of the ground to be returned to the underground reservoir from whence it came.

After off loading our luggage, we headed straight out to do some sight seeing for the next few hours.

 

“Kia ora” welcome to Rotorua, a city with a forest on its doorstep.

 

Rotorua, the heartland of New Zealand’s Maori culture.   Enveloping warmth, a proud spirit, a deep sense of history and a quick humour – you’ll find all these qualities in your experiences with Maori culture.  Rotorua, a Maori word meaning literally “second lake”, was originally settled by the Maori of the Te Arawa iwi.

Many famous Maori legends and stories are based in this area including Hinemoa and Tutanekai—perhaps New Zealand’s most famous love story, the beautiful Pink and White Terraces that were destroyed in the Mt Tarawera eruption, as well as many interesting Rotorua personalities.

The founder of Rotorua was a Maori explorer named Ihenga in the 14th century. The first Maori inhabitants arrived shortly after his discovery, transported by canoe from Hawaiki in Eastern Polynesia.

 

The Arawa people of Rotorua were New Zealand’s first visitor guides, leading the way to the natural wonders the many geothermal hotspots, spouting geysers, boiling mud pools, warm geothermal springs and silica terraces,  that have been part of their home for more than 600 years. Their welcoming tradition has been carried on from generation to generation expressed with true warmth and energy in Rotorua.

 

Chip climbs a Redwood

Our first stop was the beautiful Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest, www.redwoods.co.nz one of Rotorua’s most spectacular natural assets, it is famous for the magnificent stands of towering Californian Coastal Redwoods.  In their natural habitat the lifespan of a Redwood is 600 years and they can grow as tall as 110 metres with bark growing up to 30cm thick.  In the Redwoods, Whakarewarewa Forest the largest trees now stand at an incredible 67 metres tall and 169 cm in diameter.  We walked into the forest and hugged a redwood, they are so huge, you cannot get your arms a quarter of the way around its trunk.

The visit to the Mitai Maori Village – a sacred place … a spiritual place … www.mitai.co.nz

Earthy * Raw * Natural * Real * Indigenous

Maori Warrior

It was an evening that gave us an authentic introduction to Maori culture where we experienced a natural cultural village setting, saw warriors in traditional dress paddling a waka (ancient warrior war canoe), demonstrating fighting techniques, coupled with the grace and beauty of the poi dance and of course, the grand finale being the famous haka.  After eating a traditional hangi meal which is cooked in the ground, we walked through the forests, beside the crystal clear waters flowing from a natural spring and saw hundreds of glow worms glowing green and blue in the night along the banks.  We ate a traditional hangi meal which is cooked in the ground.  This is an experience not to be missed.

 

Chip & Bere with Kiwi friends.

From the Mitai Maori Village, we went on a night tour of the Rainbow Springs Kiwi Wildlife Park www.rainbowsprings.co.nz and had a close and personal encounter with the endangered Kiwi birds.  Committed to conservation, in 1995 Rainbow Springs became involved in the Bank of New Zealand’s ‘Save the Kiwi’ recovery Programme known as ‘Operation Nest Egg’ (or O.N.E. for short), with the arrival of a kiwi egg that had been abandoned.  They now receive eggs from 13 conservancies and community kiwi trusts around the North Island.  Since 1995 Rainbow Springs has successfully hatched, raised and released 492 kiwi chicks back into the wild.

 

 

 

 

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