The town of Rotorua
We had arrived in Rotorua the previous evening but had little time to look around so I was up early in the morning to see the sunrise over Lake Rotorua, just outside my hotel bedroom. I had a little time later in the day to wander through the town and gardens. There is always a smell of sulphur in the air and for this reason Rotorua is known as the Sulphur City.
Te Puia, the Maori Arts and Craft Centre and Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley
It was a short drive from the hotel to Te Puia, where our Maori guide met us. He was very informative and gave us a real insight into the Maori culture, including organising some of the members of our group into a team to learn the art of ‘passing the baton’. This was done inside the Maori meetinghouse. He then sent us to the Whakarewarewa thermal reserve as the main geyser, Pohutu, had just started to erupt.
Our next stop was at the Agrodome, where, in a huge hangar, we witnessed a sheep show. We learned about the various breeds of sheep, the most popular being the Merino. This was followed by a sheep shearing demonstration and a sheepdog show.
Rainbow Springs is a 22-acre parkland with a natural spring. It includes flora and wildlife, including a kiwi house, where the national bird of New Zealand, which is nocturnal, can be seen in a darkened environment. There are many boards giving details of the various displays and an interesting audio tour is also available.