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Pardon you!

Napier, New Zealand

One thing you cannot fail to notice about Rotorua, is it's eggy aroma. The stench hits you the minute you arrive. This isn't because it's inhabitants eat too many baked beans, it is due to the fact that it is built on one of the world's most geothermally active areas. A walking tour lead us along a route dotted with pools of bubbling, sulphurous mud from which steam rose creating an eerie atmosphere. Later on we stumbled across St Faith's, a charming Anglican church built on Catholic land. We were met by the proud caretaker, eager to tell us the history of the church and the story behind the beautiful window which originated in the Isle of Mann. Looking out onto the lake, it gives the illusion of Christ walking on water. We woke especially early one morning to watch the Lady Knox geyser erupt at Waipapa Geothermal Wonderland. For those of you not in the know, a geyser is like a miniature volcano that spouts boiling water into the air. In this case, the eruption is induced with a soap-like substance at 10:15 sharp every day. The rest of the wonderland boasted many geothermal treats for the eyes and nose, the piece de resistance being a large flourescent green lake. Erin Charlotte Gillham (BSc Honours Psychology) concerned us all when after having read out a list of chemicals that were responsible for the lake's vivid colour, remarked, "it almost looks like there's chemicals in it."
We had an evening of entertainment when we went to the Tamaki Maori Village for a feast and concert. The evening started with a traditional welcome ceremony in which three Maori warriors approached our group's elected 'Chief' to ascertain whether or not we came in peace. After being instructed not to laugh, or even smile as it is considered rude, we had to watch poker-faced whilst the warriors bulged their eyes, waggled their tongues and frog-hopped across our path. {{DSCN1016.jpg|left}}Despite this, there was a general consensus that one particular Maori warrior was very sexy indeed, with delightful thighs- a fine example of a man. Our shameless perving, obvious by the plethora of photos of him dancing in his loin cloth. We watched traditional Maori arts, crafts and daily living before a concert of song and dance. The infamous haka was performed, which is particularly relevant amongst current controversy about the All Black's new haka which ends with a throat-slitting motion. Due to Australian protest we believe this has now been removed. We aren't sure how to make clear to you how good the feast was, cooked in the traditional Maori hangi. We were presented with an all you can eat buffet, which we definately did justice. Perhaps we can convey better with examples.........at the end of the meal, Murph tried to relieve some tension with a burp, which resulted in a mouthful of food. Yes, she had eaten that much. Meanwhile Tay had embarked upon a pavlova and custard eat-off with a boy twice her size. The competition really began to turn heads when they requested a fresh pavlova from the kitchen, long after everyone else had called it a night. Tay felt she had the moral victory considering he was a massive man.
An interesting fact for you blog-readers, is that Lake Taupo was created by the largest volcanic eruption recorded within the last 5000 years, the effects of which could be seen in the sky from as far away as China and Europe. {{PICT0566.jpg|right}}However, more importantly, Taupo was also the name of Colly's late cat, so we felt we owed it to him to make a visit. It was indeed a very big lake. Nearby we were impressed by Hukka Falls which turned out to be more like ferocious rapids cascading through a narrow river gorge. On the way past we made a 'bee-line' for a Honey Farm having been drawn in by promises of free admission and free tasting. The honey was quickly shunned in favour of free samples of fruit wine. After having been ID'ed for our thimbles of wine, we tried several new flavours, the boysenberry variety standing out. Having read that it was one of the most scenic routes to drive in New Zealand we headed sun blazing along the Volcanic Highway which circles the Tongarira National Park. Ten minutes into the journey the rain began and twenty minutes in, we were enshrouded in fog. Instead of the stunning scenes we were supposed to be enjoying we could now barely see three metres ahead of us. Visability was at an all time low. This became more apparent when we reached the Visitor's Centre and were informed that we were infact surrounded by snow-capped monutains which was news to us. {{DSCN1051.jpg|left}}After disappointing weather in Taupo the sun was shining for us in Napier on the east cost. Interesting fact number 2 blog-readers is that in 1931 Napier was destroyed by a massive earthquake. As a consequence it was rebuilt at the height of the Art Deco period and is now famed for this style of architecture. Our hostel the Criterion Hotel was a prime example of this. {{PICT0574.jpg|right}}We took a walking tour in the sunshine and the next day headed for Wellington.

permalink written by  Murph, Tay, Colly and Erin on August 13, 2006 from Napier, New Zealand
from the travel blog: The Smug Adventures Down Under
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Nice one Erin, Chemicals indeed. Looks like you are managing to take in the sights, even when they are obscured by fog. I think you should certainly consider applying for a grant from the NZ tourist Board; there must be a queue forming to visit the lace as a result of your exploits.

keep them coming.

Dad G

permalink written by  Andy Gillham on August 15, 2006

Big fan of the "interesting" facts

permalink written by  Matty G on August 15, 2006

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