The Grinch you say? Stink, Stank, Stunk! That is the description of much of the air in Rotorua is as the sulfur from the geothermal features lingers in the community. Like the Grinch, although Rotorua has a big heart and lots of big trees!!
Today started out mundane, some exercises and then some housekeeping duties of laundry and grocery shopping. We ran to the mall to mail Asia’s birthday card and a thank you gift to Patti T at AMC for being so helpful!!
Finally, time to play!! For a nice change of pace, we did a long hike through Redwood Recreation Area, which is a forest of California Redwoods planted around the early 1900’s. It was an interesting juxtaposition to see a Redwood tree growing next to a palm tree??? A little Dr. Seuss, hmmmmm? At the top of the trail we stood at an overlook watching a geyser spit out some hot water. Old Faithful it was not, but still pretty amazing. We saw some hot pots of mud and some pools of hot mineral water around the geyser. The walk up and down gave us all the steps and heart points for the day, so it was time for a change of pace. We saw geysers, big trees, mud pots and palm trees all while walking through a forest of Redwood trees.
We next did something that, while not planned, worked out perfectly. We decided we wanted to see the Tamaki Maori Village, which is an entire experience. It was recommended by one of our Airbnb hosts and Trip Adviser rates it as one of the best experiences for tourists. Alas, they were all booked until tomorrow. Deciding to go in and book directly with the operator instead of online was very fortuitous!! As the scheduler behind the desk said, “tomorrow at 5pm is our only time” a driver came in and said, “We can take them, hurry up and the bus will wait for them.” Thank you very much Ngata!!! We got to experience and learn about the culture of the Moari people, the first to arrive here in New Zealand over a thousand years ago, watched Dave be the first eliminated in a game of sticks, saw him perform a tribal dance, and then ate a very nice meal with our tribe. We started out as strangers and ended up as family, just like in the Grinch. Our tribe had folks from Australia, India, the Netherlands, the UK and several from the US. It was fun to talk with them and get, and give, tips about traveling.