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Smelliest place on earth...

sunny 25 °C

We arrived in Rotorua in the evening and went to see and smell our first smelly thermals. Really impressive, steaming wholes, bubbles everywhere and an incredible smell. We camped wild that night, just outside the thermal park we went to see in the morning, Wai-O-Tapu it is called. That was one of the most incredible experiences ever. Everywhere springs and wholes and ponds with steaming and erupting water and mud boiling. Great for some mud masks that I purchased later on....:-)
The colours of some of them were just amazing and looked quite artificial, as they were so bright. We started the tour with an erupting geyser which was incredible. The smell was mind blowing though, but I absolutely loved it. After some great souvenir shopping (mud masks for the girls...:-) I went to the internet and unfortunately found out that they did charge me for the van after all.... Dough!!! Would have been too good to get the van for free. Would have done my budget good, but never mind....
In the evening we went for the Maori experience which was a complete flop. WE did learn a few interesting things but the whole thing was a complete tourist rip-off. Hundreds of tourists were squeezed into plastic tents do have some dinner cooked in the Hangi, which is the original Maori cooking, where they steam food for hours in the earth and then some Maori dancing etc. Unfortunately the whole thing came accross so not original and authentic that we were all quite disappointed. but had a lot of fun as it was quite comical. They made us repeat everything in Maori, which made us feel being back in primary school and asked us to take a picture of the dinner and the whole thing was just ridiculous.

After another night of wild camping we went to another thermal park that we got for free with our fantastic Maori night. That one, Hell's Gate, was really good too although I like the other better. Here they taught you more about how the Maori used to use the thermals and how they cooked food in it etc.
As we arrived at our camping spot at night, not knowing where we were and hoping to not be attacked by some Maoris, sticking their tongue out and widening their eyes as in their typical tradition, we weren't too far off and were surprised to have parked our van just by a nice lake surrounded by one of their meeting houses etc. That certainly was far more authentic than the arranged evening we had before. It does look very funny though when they do their dancing and all that and stick their tongue out as if their life depends on it.

We continued our journey the next morning to Wellington and stopped at Huka Falls which were incredible. REally cool place and we went for a nice walk there. The river generates 65% of the power for the Northern Island and 15% for whole of NZ! Quite impressive I thought...
We stopped for lunch at a prawn farm, stayed in a campsite in Taihope and continued all the way to Wellington where we were just waiting by the harbour to get us on the first ferry in the morning which is bringing us to the South Island. Classy... just next to the other lorry drivers....:-)

Posted by Julia1976 05:47 Archived in New Zealand

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