So many people never travel around the country they live in or check out the local attractions, but choose to travel abroad, stand in ques, and pay the big bucks that tourist attractions cost. I have not been out of New Zealand and probably will never get around to doing so. My travel is done via books and fantastic things I watch on the good old reliable TV from the comfort of my lounge. Suits me fine. I am not against people traveling, I admire them, I just haven't done it. Anyway, I digress. This week I was taken to Rotorua and hour and a half drive south from Hamilton by my youngest son as he was off work.
He suggested we go to Rotorua and do the Treewalk, who was I to argue about a day out with my gorgeous son.
The Redwoods Treewalk is nothing short of beautiful, all those spectacular tall Redwood trees. Even the Loos (top right photo) were bloody wicked!
So this is the tower you climb to the first platform. The man taking our tickets said "only two rules, no running or jumping". To which I replied "Do I look like a runner or jumper?". He laughed saying you just cannot tell these days. So up we climbed.
Ok so at this point I shall say that I am not overly keen on being up high so this was always going to be a test for me. But I was determined to attack this head on!! The moving sensation when walking across the swing bridges wasn't as bad as I thought it would be or how high up I was, so it didn't take too long to get comfortable. I was just glad we were pretty much on our own. Tour buses were on their way.
Each swing bridge was a different length but all led to the safety of a platform. The David Trubridge designed lanterns were amazing and they light up for the night walk, might have to return to experience that one.
Every platform had things for you to read so always something interesting to discover. The builder son was fascinated.
This platform looked like a new addition and I just had to scale the stairs that moved to check it out. The views were stunning and all you could hear were the sounds of Nature.
I could not bring myself to stand on the Glass Floor, and going back down the stairs was interesting! The whole 'Don't Look Down' thing and all.
With a quick selfie in the tree tops with my son we continued on. Below us were tracks where you can go on a walk. We saw numerous people doing this, some with their dogs on leads, and you can even do a bike ride. All of those activities are FREE!!
We crossed the last swing bridge to return to the starting point, the tower. I personally think it was well worth the $25 to walk among the trees for over half a kilometer. So very glad we did this, and very keen to return and do the night walk now.
Next time tho I will go dressed as Little Red you know who and lurk about in those magnificent trees!!!!
As we were so close my son suggested we drive to The Blue Lake for a look. So pretty, and believe it or not there were young people swimming!!
The water was so clear you could see the Duck legs paddling. The bottom right photo is on the drive back to Rotorua where we stopped for some lunch.
Near the Hospital you can go to Kuirau Park which just happens to be FREE so we decided, WHY NOT!! The smell of sulphur is evident but not too strong when we were there. Although you could let a sneaky bit of wind loose and no one would know!!
There are tracks and board walks you can wander about on and marvel at the steam that rises above the pools of geothermal activity happening in the water.
I think this would be a good thing to do on a cool Winter day as it is reasonably warm to be near. Our day was Hot and Sunny, a beautiful day.
We then decided we may as well go pay to see some Geothermal Wonder which just happens to be at Te Puia. Both of us have been here before but years ago. So it was time to mingle with the Tourists that were there by the Bus load and do it!!
For a Tourists they charge $54!! But for us NZers with a flash of our drivers license the price goes down to $38. Some will say this is still expensive but how often do we visit the local attractions? This is Whatitoka Waharoa, the gateway.
Our first stop was the Whakarewarewa Geyser Terrace.
Pohutu Geyser was doing it's thing!!
Apparently Pohutu means constant splashing in Maori.
The information boards are always handy!!
It is quite the walk, passing Native Bush, The Te Puia Pa (top left) which is a historical and sacred site as it housed Maori for hundreds of years. Over raging water and along winding paths we went.
A much needed rest stop for me with this guy!
The Waka (boat) was so intricately carved. You can visit the Carving School where trainees from around NZ are taught and guided by the skills of the Tohunga Whakairo, the Master Carvers. I love the fact that these traditions are not lost. We didn't visit tho.
Another very informative board!
Pikirangi Village is a reconstructed historical village that you can wander around. The guide information says 'this gives you the feel for how the Maori lived before the arrival of the European'.
Our next stop was to go inside the Kiwi House, where you are in pitch black darkness!! We followed the dimly lit had rail to the viewing part where once our eyes adjusted we actually saw a Kiw!! Our countries Native Bird, a flightless little bugger that likes to only appear at night.
As you are not permitted to take photos I have
stolen borrowed one off the old google images. Thanks Google!! Totally cute little bird but somewhat endangered so major breeding programs in on the go around our beautiful little country. PHEW!!
We saw small pools of Bubbling Mud on our walk. And what a walk it was. For someone as un fit as myself I sure knew the next day that I had participated in some walking activities!!! I don't have a FITBIT but my FATBITS were telling me lots!!!
Again I thought how this place would be best seen in Winter when it is cooler and the rainfall helps the viewing of the Mud Pools. Not that I was disappointed at all.
Especially when we arrived at Nga mokai-a-Koko mud pool. This large pool of boiling mud is named after a famous Chief of the original fortified settlement. According to my guide it reminded him of the playful nature of children. The Maori name of the mud pool translates as 'the cherished ones of Koko'.
With one last look at the Geyser we climbed our way back up the pathways to the carpark. We were in dire need of cooling refreshments for our drive home.
Thanks Jak for taking me and Thanks New Zealand for being such a gem in this world of conflict and ongoing unrest. I encourage you where ever you are to visit the sites of significance in your country, be they free or not. Play at being a tourist in your own place like me!!
Many a young New Zealander has felt this,
and most come home eventually.
So where shall I go next?
Will you come with me?