Here are some Rotorua-area favorites:
Tag Archives: Rotorua
Yes, our ship was still in port over in Tauranga. And, yes, today was a very busy day, as you’ve seen these past two weeks. So far I’ve shown you the Rotorua geothermal area, the Living Māori Village, the redwood forest of Whakarewarewa, and rafters going over the falls at Okere. Can’t be a whole lot left to do, right? Wrong. Today we begin with Kiwifruit Country, a tourist attraction north of Okere Falls.
We arrived there courtesy of our tour hosts at Custom Day Tours.
Here, everything is kiwi. Even the tourist train:
But Kiwifruit Country is first a foremost a kiwi farm:
One last look at Kiwifruit Country before we head on up the road toward a bit of local indigenous flavor:
We now head back south toward Rotorua arrive at Te Puia. Last week we took a look at the geothermal area here, but today we’re going to take in some Māori culture and traditions.
It’s time for us to head over to the Te Puia Opera House, where a very special event awaits us:
But before the show begins, let’s take a closer look at the interesting building to the left:
Uh, oh . . . this fellow looks ominous:
Before this show began, the audience were advised to take this seriously. Laughter is not appreciated during this welcoming ceremony. And, despite the stern look of our greeters, we were in fact being welcomed in the traditional Māori manner.
Once welcomed into the opera house we were entertained with traditional Māori folksong, dance, and storytelling:
This week’s Fun Photo Friday concludes our look at the Tauranga and Rotorua areas of New Zealand. Next Monday we head to one of my favorite cities, Auckland. Here we disembark from our cruise, and I shall spend the next several weeks showing your around the city.
We’re still in and around Tauranga and Rotorua for today’s blog article, but we’re heading away from these towns and into the nearby forests. Just minutes from downtown Rotorua lies a redwood forest. Yep. You read that correctly. Redwoods. As in, the same type redwoods for which areas of northern California are famous.
The redwoods here, however, are not quite as large as the ones I highlighted in my article on Muir Woods, as you can see from this Muir Woods photograph from that article:
So, how did redwoods come to grow in New Zealand? No; these trees are not indigenous. Yes; these are indeed California coastal redwoods. They were brought here nearly 100 years ago and naturalized into the environment.
These sequoias have taken to the local climate and soil quite well. Since being brought here sometime around 1923, some of these trees have already reached heights of 230 feet/70 meters. This particular stand of redwoods make up the Whakarewarewa Redwoods Forest.
The redwoods are not the only flora of note here. What about that silver leaf fern pictured at the top of today’s article? Here is another view:
Not very silver, now, is it. But not so fast. The silver leaf does not get it’s name lightly. To see the silver, one must turn over the leaf to observe the underside:
Now let’s continue farther away from Rotorua and head north to Okere Falls Scenic Reserve:
It is here, at Okere Falls, that we trek into the forest for a view of a popular rafting area over the Tutea Falls. Let’s start with the upper portion of Tutea:
And head on down just below that to the lower portion (in the lower right frame below you’ll see the remains of an old hydroelectric generating station):
Now, that doesn’t look all that daunting for rafters, right? Well, let’s watch what happens to a pair of rafts heading down Tutea Falls. The following video recaps some of what you saw last week in the geothermal area near Rotorua, and beginning at the 0:43 mark you see this intrepid duo of rafters heading over the falls: