Tag Archives: Rotorua

Fun Photo Friday — Circumnavigating New Zealand; Rotorua and Tauranga favorites 2


Te Puia sculpture

Here are some Rotorua-area favorites:

Pathway into Te Puia
Rest Stop
Puarenga Stream
Puarenga STEAM!

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Circumnavigating New Zealand — Kiwifruit Country and Te Puia Māori Village


Kiwis in Kiwi Land

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.

Kiwifruit Country

We arrived there courtesy of our tour hosts at Custom Day Tours.

Our host this tour — Custom Day Tours

Here, everything is kiwi. Even the tourist train:

Kiwifruit Country kiwi train

But Kiwifruit Country is first a foremost a kiwi farm:

Kiwifruit Country

One last look at Kiwifruit Country before we head on up the road toward a bit of local indigenous flavor:

Kiwifruit Country

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.

Te Puia Māori Village

It’s time for us to head over to the Te Puia Opera House, where a very special event awaits us:

Te Puia Māori Village Opera House

But before the show begins, let’s take a closer look at the interesting building to the left:

Te Puia Māori Village

Uh, oh . . . this fellow looks ominous:

Te Puia Maori Village Opera House

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.

Te Puia Maori Village Opera House

Once welcomed into the opera house we were entertained with traditional Māori folksong, dance, and storytelling:

Te Puia Maori Village Opera House
Te Puia Maori Village Opera House
Te Puia Maori Village Opera House

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.

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Circumnavigating New Zealand — Rotorua’s Redwoods and Okere Falls


Silver Leaf Fern

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.

Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest

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:

The giant coast redwood

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.

Whakarewarewa Redwood Forest

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.

Whakarewarewa Redwood 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:

Silver Leaf Fern

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:

Silver Leaf Fern

Now let’s continue farther away from Rotorua and head north to Okere Falls Scenic Reserve:

Welcome to Okere Falls

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:

Okere Falls

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):

Okere Falls

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:

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