I have now fallen very very far behind with my blogging. Although, I am firmly established in Sydney and have many photos and experiences to share, there is still a small pile of photos to publish from New Zealand, and so...
Here are a few more photos from Auckland that I didn't get a chance to post in my Swan Song entry:
One last picture from the window of my old apartment:
The next few photos were taken at Kare Kare and Phila. Both beaches are about an hour out of Auckland and were introduced to Robert and I by our wonderful friends Nick and Yvonne.
I had three stops I wanted to make before flying away from New Zealand. The first was the extremely stinky and volatile Rotorua. The earth's crust is so thin here that the smell sulphur is impossible to get away from. Luckily its still quite pretty, especially the government grounds.
Rotorua is the perfect place to go some for amazing spas but I decided to go a little bit out of the town to Hell's Gate for my mud bath and volcanically heated spa.
Hell's Gate was given its English name by George Bernard Shaw. Apparently when he saw hot boiling pools he claimed that they must be the portals to hell.
Yes, that is a pool of boiling mud.
In case you were wonder all that steam is indeed caused by the geothermal activity. Some of these pool of sulphur and other chemicals could cook you in a matter of minutes should you be so unfortunate as to fall into them. The cooler ones are often around 40 degrees and are more comfortable for bathing.
The Maori name for the geothermal reserve is Tikitere, meaning "here lies my precious one". This was the mother's cry when 650 years ago a young Maori Princess called Hurutini threw herself into one of the hot boiling pools because her husband, the Chief, was abusive and disrespectful.
The pool that her mother found her in is named after her and is pictured below.
Rotorua is also home to New Zealand largest concentration of Maori peoples and so I thought it would be the prefect place to experience the Haka (traditional concert) and Hangi (traditional meal). The Hangi is delicious. All of the food is cooked in a large pit with hot stones. The food is wrapped and then buried for 2 or 3 hours. The only photo I have of the experience is one I took outside of the village. As it was nighttime I had to leave the shutter on my camera open to let in any light. I prefer to call the technique "artsy", not blurry.
Next stop on the one-week power tour of the North Island was Tongariro National Park. This is a beautiful area to do a hike and take in a bit of skiing. The volcano on the left is Mount Ruapehu, an active volcano and the home of two ski fields. (I skiied both. Sorry, no photos.) Visitors are assured that they will be given plenty of notice before the volcano erupts.
Final stop on the tour was Wellington, but I'm too sleepy now to post those photos. They'll have to wait until next time...