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  • Day116

    Day 3 - Rotorua

    July 27, 2017 in New Zealand ⋅ ☀️ 11 °C

    This morning we were heading to Skyline park to do the luge courses, an activity I saw online years ago and have wanted to do it ever since! They are like little go karts / toboggans that you simply tear down a track in, with a simple push forward to accelerate and back to slow down style brake / steering system.

    To get to the top, we took a short gondola ride that had great views across the town and lake. Once we completed the luge track we then got a chairlift back up which resulted in very wet bottoms! The pass gave us 4 goes on the track. There were 3 in total but he advanced was shut as the track was too wet, which left us with the scenic and intermediate. It was so good I might have to check the one out in Christchurch too!

    For lunch we drove and parked up in Kuirau Park, a free thermal park. After lunch we walked around the various pools. We saw more bubbling mud pools and smelly smoking holes in the rocks. The steam at times was so thick that you could barely see where you were going!

    In the evening we had a booked a Māori village experience, to learn so more about the Māori culture. The entertainment began the moment we stepped on the coach with a quick Maori language lesson and some group paddling to help paddle our waka (boat) to the village (this part required a lot of imagination). The most important bit for us to remember though was Kia Ora which means, hello, welcome, goodbye, go well etc. Once at the village we all congregated on the steps in front of a big open space. All of a sudden all the lights went out (unplanned) and we were all stood in darkness for about 15 minutes. When the generator eventually kicked in and the lights came back on the Māori men came out and performed a challenge which was to determine whether we came in peace. This involved a lot of running around, shouting and some serious tongue poking before they laid out a peace offering for our chosen chief Shami (a poor Irish guy on our coach that got royally stitched up). We were told not to smile or laugh during the ceremony as it is incredibly sacred to the Māori people. Once they had established that we had in fact come in peace, the Māori chief greeted Shami with a traditional greeting which is 2 touches on the nose (the same greeting that Boris Johnson compared to a head butt, that man is a moron). All aquatinted we were then accepted into the village. It was pouring down with rain so sadly we didn't get to see much of the village but we did have time to see how they cooked our dinner. It was cooked 'hangi' style which is like a giant bonfire burnt down in a hole in the ground with volcanic stones on top. Once smoking the food rests on top and is covered with hessian sacks. It is then slow cooked for around 4 hours. It smelt delicious when it came out!

    We were then led into a big room with seats and a stage where we learnt more about the Māori culture with the chief and watched dances, poi performances and hakas. It was then our turn to join in, Blake bailed on the poi but I got involved with the haka and it was a good laugh.

    Next up was dinner and it was an eat all you can eat buffet with chicken, lamb, fish, and all the trimmings. Two huge plates later and I was stuffed. The food was so delicious and you could taste the smokey steamed flavour in it all. For dessert there was a choice of pavlova, steamed pudding with custard and peaches. I went for the steamed pudding with custard but our dessert queen had to try a big bowl of all 3! It was quite funny as the girl opposite ate like nothing and her face each time Blake came back with another bowlful was hilarious. We left the village feeling ridiculously full. I think that is the first time since we have been away that we have seriously over eaten!
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