22/5/09 8 °C
We woke up with just enough time to head over to the Aratartia Dam to see the formation of the rapids. It was really neat to see a dry riverbed suddenly fill with raging rapids in a matter of seconds. Once we watched the floodgates close and the riverbed return to normal, we headed back to Taupo, which has joined Queenstown on our list of ‘Just Not That Into’ places. Nothing caught our attention and the cold weather is making us long for the hot springs so we piled back into the van-a-ram and drove to Roturua. However, we had to stop at the Prawn Farm on the way out of town. It was quite…interesting…and mostly cheesy, with Pepe the Prawn’s twin as its spokesprawn.
Once we reached Rotorua, we popped into the iSite where we lucked out big time. Not only did we get some really good deals on the tourist activities we wanted to take part in but also we decided enough of the campervan and took advantage of the room filler rate at one of the nice hotels. The hotel was awesome and even had free guest laundry which we took advantage of. Our room was (or just felt like it) huge.
We had decided to take part in the Maori Hangi tonight so the bus picked us up at 5.30pm to take us to the marea (meeting house). Once our entire group had been assembled, our guide met us and gave us a briefing on how to conduct ourselves. We were also introduced to our chief, an American, who would be representing all of us. Once out front of the marae, the tribe who had to decide if we were friend or foe greeted us. Once we were accepted, we headed inside for the Maori concert where Tom learned the Haka and Chrissy learned the poi dance.
After the concert, we headed for the hangi that was delicious! Chrissy indulged in all the seafood available while Tom steered clear and sampled the various meats cooked in traditional fashion. After dinner, we boarded some caterpillar type buses that took us to see the Pohuti geyser, which was spouting off, but unfortunately the steam was so thick we couldn’t see it clearly. Instead we settled onto the hot rock steps and sipped hot chocolate and heard some more history of the local Maori. When we got to back to the hotel, we watched a bit of Pirates of the Caribbean before heading to bed.