We left Maketu yesterday (14th April) and Arrived in Rotorua 2 hours later. Those who wanted to go white water rafting got dropped off and the rest of us got drivin into town. Rotorua is built on a massive lake and home to about 60% of the Maori population. It is situated in the Bay of Plenty region, and there is a line of volcanoes along the widthe of the north island making this area around the Bay very fertile. The area between Maketu and Rotorua also is home to many Kiwifruit farms, 60% of the worlds supply is grown here.
So we arrived in Rotorua which has lots of geothermal activity as the earths crust is very thin here. There are lots of sulphur pools, hot springs and geysers and the whole town stinks of rotton eggs. Its a resonable sides town and we started off with a walk on a self guided tour from the government house, to the lake them back through a park full of geothermal pools and springs. The bubbling mud is quite fun to watch. This is where the rest of the bus left and I spent the afternoon walking around the town and chatting to people in the hostel. We went to the night market in the evening, my sort of thing. Lots of good food and AMAZING brownies!!!!!!!!!!! these things were so good, gooey on the inside with chocolate chips and a crunchy crust!! I jumped off as I wanted to do the Hobbiton tour, Hell's Gate mud spa and see the museum. And because of the buses I can't leave till Sunday lunchtime but I have plenty of time so I'd rather not rush.
So today and got up and got the shuttle bus to Hell's Gate mud spa. Its the only Maori owned mud spa and when I arrived they sent me on a walk of the grounds which smelled of sulphur and acid, even more acidic then the town. They looked pretty cool though. The Maori used to cook food in the water as it was so hot, and gave it a smokey flavour. You can go eat a meal like that here now, and see a show as Rotorua is the Maori cultural capital but its very expensive. We've already done our cultural stay in Maketu and I think to pay $80 to eat some food with a smoky flavour isn't worth it. I'd rather save my money for the south island. Anyway the spa. I walked trough the grounds and saw all the geothermal stuff which was pretty cool. There was a mud volcano and I tried to get pictures but there was to much steam everywhere, so they aren't very good. It was called Hell's Gate by George Bernard Shaw, and Irish playwrite and athiest who in a very toung in cheek way called it Hell's Gate, and various places within the park Inferno, Sodom and Gamorrah and other biblical names. Then I got changed and was led to a little pool of sulphur water with mud at the bottom and told I could only stay there for 20 mins cos of the heat and the sulphur dehydrating me. So I lay there rubbing myself in mud and After my skin felt so soft, the stuff really works. It opens up the pores and lifts out all the toxins. Then after a shower I went into the hot tub which contained sulphur water from the lakes and was heated by steam from the geysers being pumped trough some pipes. So no plumbing, it was all natural. It made me tired so I had a nap when I got back and am now using the free wi-fi in Macdonalds (all 50MB that I'm allowed, internet here is terrible, expensive and slow).
So tomorrow I have my hobbiton tour in the morning and the museum in the afternoon. I'm very excited, and as I'm not doing any of the Maori stuff here I feel I should go. I'm debating white water rafting on sunday morning, its more expensive on the south island but I don't want to just go throwing money away now that I'm not working. Plus Monday I'll have the Tongararo crossing if the weathers good so Sunday will be my last change to lie in, I dunno.