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100 Days Of Summer When your home country is covered in feet of snow and -20 is the average temperature everywhere it's important to flaunt that you aren't home! This blog documents my adventures through the Pacific and South East Asia as I enjoy exactly 100 Days of Summer.

Rotorua: What Geokids' Dreams Are Made Of

NEW ZEALAND | Friday, 31 January 2014 | Views [1189]

Rotorua was my favourite place in the North Island. I can say that easily and with a big ol' grin on my face! Rotorua is a big hub for a lot of activities we did (Hobbiton & Waitomo), but is also very cool on it's own. It is located on a volcanic plateau and in the Pacific ring of fire. It is home to a lot of geothermal activities and geothermal parks! (Yes geothermal parks are a thing and yes they're so cool).

While I was there the first thing I noticed was the smell! Sulphur! Rotorua was so cool that I soon forgot all about it. We stayed at Crash Palace which was definitely my favourite place so far! The staff were friendly, the place was big but not too big like the hostels in Auckland, and the rooms and bathrooms were clean and spacious. Definitely a nice change from The Cat's Pyjamas! Best of all it was the cheapest hostel I've seen in New Zealand! $22 a night! What a steal my friend!

Danielle and I walked around the town very quickly the first day, it was pretty easy, but quickly realized we were being followed! One of the guys from the hostel was, to put it nicely, very eager to make friends. He was American and traveling alone, which is fine. I like friends and I make them easily! He had such an attitude though! Everything in New Zealand seemed beneath him (and he was the expert because he had lived here a year so far) and a lot of it was "the same bullshit, different city". He also called Canadian Immigration a very crude name for not accepting his application for citizenship. Maybe they're a better judge of character than I'd realized!

Back to Rotorua! Rotorua has a lot of geothermal attractions, and is also a huge cultural hub for the Maori. We tried to figure out how to see both without blowing all out cash and lucked out with Te Puia! Te Puia is a geothermal park that also offers Maori educational opportunities. We went for the day and walked around on our own and on a guided tour. On our own we put our feet in a thermal stream (we probably weren't supposed to) saw mud pools, and a few dormant geysers. Then we joined the guided tour where we saw huge boiling mud pools, three geysers (we even saw one go off!) and kiwi birds! I've always wanted to see a kiwi bird ever since I did a wildlife management paper on them. They're so peculiar! They lay eggs one third their own body mass, have nostrils, are nocturnal, dig their noses into the ground for food, and can't fly! It's crazy! Their names were Kenny and Pakiki (which means Nosey in Maori because apparently he's a trouble maker! Ha!)

We got to see Maori carving and weaving schools, and learned about the tradition behind them. Apparently each carving tells a story and is how the Maori kept their history documented. We also got to go to a Maori cultural performance. It was insane! I loved it! They performed traditional songs and dances, many of which were happy and beautiful. They also performed the traditional war chant that the New Zealand All Blacks do before games. The purpose was to intimidate the other tribe and avoid a fight. They do this crazy eyed touché face too that is in a lot of carvings meant to intimidate unwelcome guests. One guy in the performance was so good at it I just kept thinking "I promise I won't attack! You're so intimidating! I'm going to run away now!" So I guess if you do it right it really works!

It is really cool to see the way New Zealand treated the Maori when I come from a country that did not treat the Aboriginal people well at all. Maori people create a significant portion of the population in New Zealand and while they still weren't treated as well as they should have been, I admire that Maori culture is integrated deeply in the development of New Zealand. It's important here and I wish that I could say the same of Aboriginal culture at home.

Well now we are in Taupo, but this is just a stop over on our way to Ohakune and the Tongariro Crossing! Hopefully we make it through Mordor and back!

Tags: crash palace, geokid, geothermal, rotorua, sulphur

 

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