Traveler's Log Monday November 28, 2016
Rainbow Springs-Kiwi Wildlife Park
Rise and shine people we have 450 km to travel today. We're on the bus at 7:30 a.m. saying goodbye to Wellington. We'll be traveling further north on the North Island. We'll spend time along the coast of the Tasman Sea then turn inland through the Kaimanawa Forest Park, past Lake Taupo and through the Waikite Valley into Rotorua.
We pass Kapiti Island famous for it's ice cream and Sir Peter Jackson, who grew up on Pukerua Bay.
Foxton has a windmill.
Bulls has many jokes made up about the town.
Then we pass through Hunterville, home to the New Zealand Huntaway Dog, they even have a statute to one of them and a festival celebrating them: Shemozzle
Erica gives us a crash cross in Maori culture. We'll be attending a Hangi Feast and some will venture to a Geothermal Village.
For lunch we stop in Taihape, the Gumboot Capital of the World and where gumboot tossing is a sport.
The Ruapehu Region is home to three volcanoes. they are a little hard to see on the day we pass through but they got fresh snow Sunday night and the peaks are still in the clouds Monday afternoon.
These mountains are part of the Tongariro National Park, New Zealand's first national park and a World Heritage Site. They are Mount Ruapehu, Mount Ngauruhoe and Mount Tongariro.
Craig teases us by saying he's taking us to a lake where the rocks float. We are skeptical but we are soon believers. The rocks are pumice.
Lake Taupo is absolutely beautiful.
We make a stop a Huka Falls. Volcanic rock formed a narrowing of water flowing from Lake Taupo in the Waikato River creating a waterfall with 220,000 liters of water per second pouring over it.
Driving through Wairakei we learn about New Zealand harnessing geothermal power as a replacement for coal.
That's not a nuclear power cooling tower it's a geothermal tower of Ohaaki Power Station in Ohaaki New Zealand.
This region is ripe with volcanoes, it's know as the Taupo Volcanic Zone as we'll learn over the next couple of days. So earthquakes on the South Island and volcanoes on the North Island. OK New Zealand, you are living on the edge.
We've made it to Rotorua. We have four people that want to make a stop to Ogo and we have some time but it will be close for our tour of the Kiwi Park.
We get to Rainbow Springs late and rush through our tour. It's almost time for the lights to come on for the Kiwi's (they are nocturnal so the park artificially changes our day into their night) so our guide send us quickly into the Kiwi house to see one running around looking for food.
Sorry folks, no photography allowed, although some of the tourists disobeyed.
We can take pictures of the display cases.
We do get into a special area where one of the biologist is candling a kiwi egg. We get to see the young chick's beak inside the shell. Next thing we know Claire is weighing and checking a two day old kiwi chick. She even brings him out for us to see up close and personal. The room got extremely quiet and we all knew we were witnessing something very special.
Back on the bus and quick tour of Rotorua and we're at the Millennium Hotel and Spa. Jay and I freshen up and hit Eat Streat.
We make our way to Brew
Home to Croucher Brewing for some, what else, craft beer.
Dinner was fabulous. Triple chocolate stouts and the Seafood Fabada for me. Kapai!
We walked around a little digesting the awesome meal and inhaling the sulfur in the air. Then it's off to bed for us. We can have a sleep in on Tuesday-nothing until our cultural tour in the afternoon.
More pictures of our drive to Rotorua: https://photosbynanci.smugmug.com/New-Zealand-2016/Rotorua-Monday/
Next up Rotorua Harbor, Maori Geothermal Village-Whakarewarewa, The Buried Village of Te Wairoa, Tamaki Village and Hangi Feast.
Day 1 and 2-Travel Days to New Zealand
Day 3 Queenstown
Day 4 Milford Sound
Day 5 Queenstown, Free Day
Day 6 Fox Glacier
Day 7 Hokitika, Punakaiki
Day 8 Pancake Rocks, Cape Foulwind, Westport, Nelson
Day 9 Nelson, Dinner with a Kiwi Family
Day 10 Nelson to Wellington
Day 11 Wellington
Day 12 Rotorua
Day 13 Rotorua
Day 14 Auckland
Day 15 Auckland and departure