(February 14th 2007)
We get one full day in Rotorua so we thought we’d make the most of it. I’d booked a Duck Tour back in the UK (the ‘duck’ in case you don’t know is an amphibious WWII vehicle) and we jumped on board outside the tourist information office and headed off around the town quacking at passers by. Yes, that’s right, quacking. Everyone onboard got a plastic duck bill which when you blew through it, quacked. Sounds stupid, and it is, but fun all the same. After seeing the sights in the town itself, we headed out to the Blue and Green Lakes where we went in and ‘drove’ around in the water while getting a very informative and fun commentary. Highly recommended.
We grabbed our lunch from the car once we’d finished the tour and ate in a small park area behind some office buildings along with the poor souls who had to go back to work after theirs…awwwww.
Then it was off to the Buried Village, which lies 15km from Rotorua. Back in 1886, there was a massive eruption from Mt Tarawera. It lasted only 6 hours, but once finished over 1500 sq km was buried in ash, lava and mud. Three Maori villages including Te Wairoa were obliterated. Some of the village has been excavated and there is a museum showing some of the artifacts recovered. It’s accessed by a lovely walk which goes along a stream full of big rainbow trout and also a side trip to se a waterfall which I made but Amanda (sensibly) didn’t. It was worth it but to get there you had to go along a very steep path, quite overgrown and the walk back up the other side was lung busting especially on a very hot day which it was today. After that we needed a sit down and a drink (me more than Amanda if truth be told).
The plan then was to return to Rotorua and go to Rainbow Springs and it’s Kiwi Experience. Sadly due to loads of people turning up on coaches before we arrived, the Kiwi experience was fully booked so we just went into Rainbow Springs. We were both a bit gutted as the Kiwi Experience has Kiwi eggs hatching at the moment and baby Kiwis which would have gotten a huge amount of aww’s and oooh’s. Rainbow Springs is an excuse to feed giant rainbow trout and watch the feeding frenzy, as well as look at other NZ flora and fauna. We saw, and photographed, giant redwoods, keas, geckos and saw, but couldn’t photograph, an adult kiwi. A nice way to spend an hour or so.
Off out for something to eat later, then tomorrow it’s off to Taupo via one of the thermal areas to see and smell the bubbling mud and geysers.