Friday, 12 April 2013

To Hell and Back

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Rotorua, Mud-Pools and Geysers

Lazily I caught a bus today to Rotorua. The bus was free to anyone staying in the YHA so I couldn't resist it! Rotorua's sulphurous smell takes some getting used to. I visited a trout farm and a forest before finding Ray and Doreen. These are relations of Sandras (and Dales) and I cheekily knocked on their door. No problem and I stayed here for an enjoyable three nights. Ray told me some stories from his wrestling days when he travelled around the US and the UK as a professional wrestler, grappling all the famous guys of that era. It was also ANZAC when I was there so he told me some war stories too. And he still plays in the brass band.


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I visited the Maori Cultural Centre and Thermal Reserve. Here I admire the boiling lakes and mud pools and the geysers. I'm slowly getting used to the sulphur smell! Steam seems to come out of the ground everywhere. I then rode through a forest to the Blue and Green lakes and onto a buried village. Thge village was buried in 1886 by a volcanic eruption. very eerie. I visited another crater lake and then rode back. Strange day.

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On my final day in Rotorua I went out with Ray and visited his mother and sister. His brother-in-law collects vintage cars, he has five, including a 1926 Cadillac. We then went to the Polynesian Pools and sat in the radium and Priest pools for an hour or so. Ray has a free entry for his arthritis. In the afternoon I visited the Kaura Park, the Government Gardens and the museum.

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I finally left Rotorua and rode around the lake to Hell's Kitchen (now called Hells Gate). This is, of course, another thermal area. from here it was a ride over the mountains through the northern lake district, past a volcano and across a plain to Whakatane and finally over a hill to a small backpackers at Ohape Bay.

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