Woke up early, had some breakfast and went to pick up the rental car. We hired a Toyota Corolla or Auris as its now called in the UK and Japan. It’s one size up from the Yaris or Vitz and its the perfect size for us – we can get our two suitcases and all our miscellaneous baggage as well!! After getting back to the hotel, we loaded all our stuff into the car and checked out.
Today we made our way towards Rotorua – an area of volcanic activity and hot springs. On the way we stopped off at Mount Maunganui – a very beautiful place indeed. We walked along the main beach and right the way up to the cliff edge, before heading back and having some lunch on the sea front. We were blessed with some gorgeous weather today which always helps to make everything look one more shade of picturesque!
On our way out of town towards Papamoa Beach we took the wrong turning and ended up taking a full tour of the posh sea front properties!! We picked out quite a few that we wouldn’t mind living in!! Mount Maunganui is apparently one of the places that many Kiwis would like to live in as well (^^)>
We finally found our way back to the main road and carried on towards Rotorua. When we arrived at our hotel, the proprietor welcomed us in and gave us a quick introduction of what there was to do in town. One of the places we planned on going was also one of the places he recommended – Te Puia – a traditional Maori village where you can also see a volcanic guyser erupting every so often. At Te Puia, we bought tickets for Te Po (meaning the night) which involved a Maori Cultural experience, followed by a traditional Hungi meal (ground oven roasted chicken, sweet potato (kumura), pumpkin and lots of other goodies!), and a night viewing of the famous Pohutu guyser.
Although this was our third Maori cultural experience, this time seemed more authentic and you actually got a historical explanation of the Maori culture and Aotearoa (The long white cloud = New Zealand).
The performance involved audience participation, and so while I learnt how to do a dance with the Poi balls, Seio stuck his tongue out and made froggy eyes learning to do the Haka….Seio’s Haka was much better than my Poi balls…those things are more difficult that you think!!
The Hungi meal was very nice as well. Whereas the Luau in Hawaii was a very informal deal, the Te Puia Hungi was quite a formal setting – not quite silver service but near enough!! The food was really nice as well….smoky flavors and a huge amount of food….
Our hotel was only about 3 minutes walk from Te Puia, but we still managed to somehow find ourselves on a bus (^^)> …don’t ask us why, it was just easier that way!
As it was about 9pm when we got home, we decided to call it a day and go to bed.