One Hundred Days of Adventure!
18.08.2009 - 23.08.2009 15 °C
Rotorua and Napier are two very different towns, whose landscapes and histories have been shaped by the volcanic terrain on which they are built.
Rotorua has been attracting tourists like us for over a hundred years for its thermal mineral pools and bubbling hot mud, which were thought to have curative properties. It took us a little while to get over the smell of rotting eggs that permeates the town (actually sulphur dioxide gas), but luckily the unique nature of the town made it quite bearable. Whilst in Rotorua, we made the most of the natural geothermally heated waters by making a visit to the luxurious Polynesian Spa, where there were seven different mineral pools in which to soak and relax. One of the highlights of our stay here was seeing how the local Maori people live in harmony with this unique landscape at the Whakarewarewa Thermal Village. Here the thermal pools and steam vents that are dotted around the village are used on a daily basis by the villagers for their cooking, washing and bathing. We were shown round by a local resident who has lived in the village her whole life, and so was able to relate anecdotes and even some traditional Maori legends. After our fascinating tour we went into the village meeting house to see a traditional Maori cultural performance, which was brilliant. They performed songs, dances and games for us, but obviously our favourite was the famous Haka war dance, which was really intimidating and exciting to watch!
Napier is a town further south on the coast, which in 1931 was completely razed to the ground by a devastating earthquake. Due to the period that this happened in, the town was rebuilt in the Art Deco style, leaving many beautifully designed and coloured buildings for us to admire today. The one full day that we had in Napier was actually our 100th day of travel, so we spent our time here enjoying the many lovely sights and indulgences that the town had to offer! We began with a walking tour around the town, then moved on to the Chocolate Factory and Wineries for some serious chocolate and wine tasting action. It was a fantastic day, and a great way to toast ourselves for being brilliant backpackers.