I remember being asked where Rotorua is, before I came here. I didn’t know it then. I remembered something about one island being all about sheep and meadows and the other one about volcanoes and thermal activity, but I didn’t remember which one was which island.
Now I know, since I’ve been there. Rotorua is on the North Island, about three hours with the bus southern of Auckland. I’ve been there with six friends, and we organised our tour by ourselves, and I loved it. That way we were sure that we just spend the money as we wanted it, and on what we wanted. And I’m glad I spent the money I did, I don’t regret a single moment (except for maybe the moment where I lost one of my contacts, but even then: it was only one, not both of them, so it could’ve been worse). The weekend was pretty perfect.
Although it didn’t seem like it in the beginning. I had to get up at five in the morning (saturday) to catch the bus at 6.25, so I would be at Orewa at 6.50 and catch the transition bus to Auckland and meet the rest of us there. My bus was early, because almost nobody was awake to catch it, and I met three of us there. But where were the last three ones? At 6.50 we were really anxious and called them – “Where are you?” – “Why? We’re home” Panic! “The bus is coming NOW, every second, you have to run!” So they ran. The bus was about four minutes late, and still no rest of us. When he finally came, we tried to convince the driver to wait for a minute or two, but they were already late… So we just kept on talking and begging, until the late ones actually made it there! It was so close…
So we sat there, our adrenaline cooled down a bit again, until we got a bit anxious again because when our bus now was late, maybe we would miss the bus to Rotorua! But we didn’t, we arrived there just in time and had some spare minutes as well. On our long bus drive we just mainly relaxed etc, and tried to sleep a bit.
At Rotorua we first tried to find our backpacker, which we managed after some wandering to and fro. The backpacker wasn’t too good, though, the door looked as if people had broken in several times. But nevermind. It was only one night.
Then we went off to the city to buy some stuff to eat, oh well, four of us went to the supermarket and three of us to Subway(r). Then three friends and me were picked up for White Water Rafting. The guys there were absolutely great, fun to be with etc. The rafting itself was brilliant, we were absolutely wet in the end, but it was great fun and really exciting. How often do you have the chance to raft down a 6.7m high waterfall? 😀
Afterwards we were quite tired again (lack of sleep and exhausting rafting, plus the cold water helped for a short time only). Two friends and I waited to be picked up again for the Mitai Maori Village. Now, I think it was about the best part of our stay, and they actually agree with me. We went there, got some general information about what will be going on and what shouldn’t we do. Then one of us visitors was announced to be the “chief” and had to represent the rest of us. The first event was the passing of the Maori warriors in a waka (canoe), they were passing close, singing and shouting. Really impressive.
Since I’ve learned quite a lot about the Powhiri before – the Maori welcoming ceremony – I knew pretty well what would be happening next, but it was still an amazing experience to see it first hand: The wero (challenge) especially, but also the mihi (speech), and of course all the performances like a haka, poi dance, stick dance etc. We also had an introduction to the different instruments of the Maori, and I have to say, they are really musically talented! To hear them singing was great, they were like a really good choir, everyone having their own tune, not even standing next to each other but dancing etc. The following hangi was also delicious, although maybe not as authentic as the one I’ve had before. But then it was better looking. 😛 After the meal we also went on a walk through the bush, and we had a look at some glow worms and a sacred spring which was just absolutely beautiful. I would just love to spend some days just sitting on the spring thinking and dreaming. I still don’t know what the fairy eyes are: there were lighter golden parts and dots on the water that I really can’t explain. All in all, a great evening indeed, and a lot of fun!
The others were staying in the backpackers, by the way, since it’s said to be pretty dangerous in Rotorua during the night. But they had two hot pools, so that was alright I guess.
The next morning we were a bit in a hurry, because we couldn’t manage to get out of bed in time… But we got outside just in time to be picked up by our guide for this morning. We went to a mud pool first, then to Wai-o-Tapu and the whole thermal valley, plus the Lady Knox Geyser. That’s really what Rotorua is so famous for, even in the middle of the city there are steams coming from the ground etc.! But all the volcanic and thermal lakes there were absolutely breathtakingly beautiful, they looked like nonterrestrial designs… I loved it, it was really magic. The weather was really cloudy and there was a lot of steam and fog indeed, which made it look even more magic (made me want to make movies there), and only in the very end of our tour it started raining. In Rotorua itself it was raining cats and dogs, though, so we cancelled our plans to go up the Gondola and down with the Luge (I was glad about that, I didn’t really want to spend money on it) and went to the museum there instead. The museum was quite nice, not very big though, and not as advanced or fascinating as the one in Auckland or Te Papa, but still nice, the building especially, and the two movies that were shown in tiny cinemas inside. The first one was great, it was about volcanic activities and the history of Rotorua. When it came to the part of the great eruption in 1886 (that destroyed the Pink and White Terraces) the seats in the cinema were actually shaking, which gave us quite a fright, but it was really well-made. And there was a Maori actor starring in it, I unfortunately don’t know his name, but I really like him. The thing with Kiwi actors really is that they seem to appear in every single Kiwi movie or series. I wonder why. 😀 But no, he’s really great. Anyway, I really like those special effects in the movies, they should introduce it in the normal cinemas as well.
The second movie was about the Maori Battaillon in WW2, a documentary. It was really touching and sad. Made me sad about war again.
After the museum we went back to the town centre again, through the rain, had some pizza and then waited until we had the idea to look for a cookie shop. We didn’t find one, so we went into the next supermarket and bought some lollies there. Then we realised it was pretty late already and hurried back like hell, because some of us thought the backpacker was about half an hour away and we didn’t have enough time to go back and get our luggage AND go back to the tourist centre to catch our bus there. Anyway, it wasn’t that far away at all, so in the end we actually had fifteen minutes at the centre to wait. Nice thing that there was a little warm water pool we could bath our aching feet in. 🙂 You couldn’t find a thing like that anywhere in Germany, could you?… But isn’t it funny that there always has to be a little thing in the end that sets everyone in a state of panic and pushes down our mood? I wonder if it’s a German thing. As well as the trait of talking themselves into something without thinking calmly or reasonably. But that’s another story I won’t talk about now. I’m just glad that I developed my chill out ability here… 😛
So that was Rotorua. We arrived after an exhausting bus trip (we couldn’t sleep because the driver wanted to entertain us with a DVD and music… nice of him, but we really couldn’t appreciate it…) in Auckland and got picked up there by a nice host mom of ours, so we were back home at about nine. Everyone was dead on their feet on Monday, but it was definitely worth it. 🙂


2 thoughts on “Rotorua.

  1. Die heilige Quelle stelle ich mir toll vor und den nebel und die goldenen dots …
    Danke für deine ausfürlichen Beschreibungen, man nimmt richtig so ein bißchen teil. Mama.

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