We have one day in Rotorua to explore. Two items on the itinerary, a trip to “Hells Gate Geothermal Park and Mud Bath Spa” and “Te Puia Te Po & Hangi Concert”. Rotorua was settled by the Māori people in the 14th century. The Māori people are the indigenous people of New Zealand and Rotorua is where a large percentage of them call home. It’s the only bilingual city in the country where English and Māori are spoken. Rotorua is also very well known for it’s interesting geology and geothermal activity. Rotorua is set on Lake Rotorua which is the second largest lake on the north island of New Zealand.

We’re staying at the Novotel Lakeside hotel which as the name suggests is close to Lake Rotorua.

Hell’s Gate/Tikitere

FIrst up today is a trip to Hells Gate Geothermal Park and Mud Bath Spa. The first half of our time here was spent with a guide who walked us (and about 15 other folks) around the geothermal park. It’s fascinating. There are a number of pools, geysers and other phenomena in the park. It’s very much an active area and changes frequently, The name of the facility and a number of the pools were named by Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw who visited in 1934. The second half of the morning was spent at the mud bath, sulphur and freshwater pools. This was fine, but Deanna and I both enjoyed the mud pools in Fiji more as there were more rustic. The ones in Rotorua while nice, missed a bit of the down to earth quality of the one in Fiji.

TE PŌ Cultural Show and Dinner

After a bit of lunch and a break, we were picked up to be taken to the Te Puia Te Po & Hangi Concert which was just a few minutes away from our hotel. Here we joined about 150 other people for a traditional Māori cultural show and dinner. It was interesting. Very polished performance and overall experience. One can tell they get a lot of people through this event and have it pretty much down to a science. Proceeds from the tickets are used to continue the learning and teaching of the Māori traditions, both for local indigenous people and visitors from around the world. Well worth a stop if you find yourself in Rotorua.

We ended up sitting with two ladies from Edmonton who were in Rotorua for the 23rd IUHPE World Conference which is promoting health. They’re spending the better part of the month travelling around New Zealand and escaping the election in Alberta like us. Dinner was buffet style and had a huge selection of both traditional Māori dishes and contemporary ones.

Well worth a stop if you find yourself in Rotorua.