It seemed fitting somehow to continue this week with my wanderings down country as I celebrate one of my Hubber friends publication on uTales (with a fun post and book review coming soon.)
We last visited Mount Maunganui and the Jazz Festival there, so lets head inland towards the centre of the North Island. As we approach the city of Rotorua one can smell the strong pungent sulphur thick in the air. To me it smells like rotten eggs, but I assure you that feeling only lasts for a couple of minutes. As you enter the city having made your way around the edge of Lake Rotorua the city cries “Kia Ora, Haere mai, Welcome, welcome. This city that attracts thousands and thousands of overseas visitors every year has everything, and captures the essence of New Zealand all in one place. From cultural discoveries you never knew, to wild adventures of mountain bike riding, white and black water rafting, walking tracks to wildlife and rainforest parks. Or maybe you have come for some healing and relaxation, the Polynesian hot pools and mud paths are all the go. I am not kidding! See here… http://www.hellsgate.co.nz/ One of my most loved attractions is the Champaign Lake. If you ever wanted the experience of walking on water, this is it. The small lake one of 16 in the region, gets its name from the colours formed around the edges and the man-made path across it through the steam gives you the illusion you are walking on water. If you were looking for a spiritual experience you will find it here.
There are many wonders here such as the Buried village where you can not only wander along the track of what is left after the volcanos erupted but you can visit the museum and experience the before and during. One could spend blog post after blog post about the discoveries, formations, how they came to be and so on but I hope a couple of links here I have posted will help.
Before I leave this post I thought I would share a 300 year old legend which I have always loved…. The Legend of Hinemoa and Tutanekai. Hinemoa was a beautiful young woman who lived on the shores of Lake Rotorua and one day her father decided to pick a husband for her. She had meantime fallen in love with Tutanekai a young chief of Mokoia Island and when he was not chosen by her father, Tutanekai beckoned her to leave in the middle of the night to cross the lake and marry him. That night she stole away to the shores of lake Rotorua, but found her father had made sure all the canoes were high on dry land to prevent her from leaving. Gathering all her courage and leaving her cloak behind on the sands she bravely swam across the lake. Taniwha from beneath the lake grabbed her legs, but when she told him of her love for Tautanekai and why she was in the lake he felt compassion and let her go. The moon, Marama, also shone down lighting her way and she finally arrived on Mokoia Island and that night married Tuatanekai. Her father and family found her cloak the next morning and thinking she had drowned and with a heavy heart after not being able to find her body, he went across the lake to break the sad news to Tutanekai. When he found his daughter alive and well and on hearing her story and her bravery, he gave his blessing and honoured her choice of husband.
Here are the words of that love story, a song is used at weddings and known as the unofficial New Zealand National anthem… http://www.maoriweddings.co.nz/hinemoa.html
Here the song is sung for you by Kiri TeKanawa, with some views of New Zealand… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzpjCtW2zLg&feature=fvwrel
Look for my next post on “Wander with me in Aotearoa” as we experience some fun things to do in Rotorua.