After the Forestry Institute, we made it into Rotorua city. It has been a tourist destination for many years on account of its thermal activity.


Queens Gate Restaurant

We had lunch in this restored hotel. It started life many miles away in a mid-19th century gold-rush boomtown. When the gold ran out, some entrepreneur disassembled the entire hotel and moved it to Rotorua, which was already becoming a tourist destination by the late 19th century.

As noted earlier we saw a number of "used house lots" in the Auckland area and were glad to know that NZ had such an established recycling culture.


Rowing Practice

After lunch we walked to the lakeside Maori village of Ohinemutu. On the way we passed these young members of the Rotorua Rowing Club practicing on the rowing machines. One of our number commented that she thought they improved the scenery immensely.

The picture doesn't capture the hip-hop music that was helping them keep time with their "stroke."


Ohinemutu Marai

This is the marae or meeting house of the Ohinemutu village. Each feature of the marae is symbolic of the ancestor to which it is dedicated. Check the link for details. The red color, which is typical, was originally produced with red ochre, but nowadays paint is used.

We were told that the large maraes such as this were only developed after the arrival of the Pakeha. Prior to that time they were much smaller and less elaborate. There is also some disagreement whether the ochre was traditional or an innovation.


Maori Church

The Maoris embraced Christianity quite early. As mentioned above, having a mission station was considered prestigious, so the early converts may not have been completely sincere. Nevertheless they gave up cannibalism.

We were disappointed that this church, St. Faith, was not open when we visited. The interior is supposed to be lovely with a wonderful stained glass window overlooking the lake. The exterior certainly is.

There was an extensive burial ground dating back into the 19th century.


Hot Springs

The village also contained this garden with thermal springs as well as other thermal features. The "chimney" over to the right was burbling merrily during our visit.

In one part of the plaza, steaming water was bubbling up through the paving stones.


Polynesian Spa

That evening many of us decided to get up close and personal with some hot springs at the Polynesian Spa. There were a series of pools at varying temperatures fed by two different springs: the alkaline Rachel Spring and the acidic Priest Spring. The views over the lake were spectacular.


Cooler pool

Al and Mary started in the moderately warm pool and found it very satisfactory.


Medium pool

The medium-hot spring was a hit with the ladies: Zohreh, Jane, Karin (back to camera), and Linda. Plus myself who spent most of my time here.


Lake Rotorua

The view from the spa included these steaming mud flats. The low hills are the edge of the ancient caldera.


Hottest pool

The hottest spring immediately attracted Ed, Carl & Bill for a relaxing soak. Others worked their way into it.


Reflexology walk

The other Mary tried the "reflexology walk," which featured large stones embedded in the underwater pavement "designed" to encourage "vital energy and blood flow throughout your body," relieve stress, improve balance and enhance physical and mental well-being. She and others were able to finish. I tried and my response was: oh, ow, OH, OW!

I had to miss out on all that enhanced well-being in order to save my feet. The narrow ledge made a great escape route!


Suzanne

Gary and Fearless Leader Suzanne passed on the pools, but kept watch over our belongings.


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