Day 5 – Rotorua

Staying at the Millennium Hotel Rotorua.

Today we were traditional tourists.  We ate breakfast in our hotel room and then drove over to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland.  One of the things I never got used to in Rotorua is the smell.  Everywhere you go it smells like sulfur/rotten eggs.  The area sits on a caldera and has thermal pools everywhere.  Waiotapu is one of the largest thermal parks and has a variety of geothermal sightseeing attraction.  Of course, you never escape the sulfur/rotten eggs smell here.

We stayed at Waiotapu about 2 hours.  Next we headed to Eat Street Rotorua to find some lunch.  We were interested in pizza and found a great craft brew-pub called “Brew.”  We each ordered a beer and an order of their house made Bhuja mix to snack on while we waited for our pizza to arrive.  After lunch we went to Lady Janes Ice Cream for dessert.

Tonight we had reservations for a traditional hangi feast at the Tamaki Maori Village.  Since it was within a block of our hotel we walked over to the Gathering Place.  After a short video about the tribes history, we were loaded on buses for the ride to the Tamaki Māori Village.  At the village they did a traditional welcoming ceremony.  Next we went to individual stations where they explained different aspects of Māori life and culture.  Next we were taking to a large lodge where they did more traditional Māori dances.  Finally we went to the dining room where dinner was served.  It was all delicious.  It was an entertaining night.  However, if your looking for a doctoral dissertation about the Māori culture, you should look somewhere else.  After dinner the bus took us back to our hotel.

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