Things we learned:
We are not the only ones with 12-hour time difference
In many places, including Te Puia you can see Kiwis. They have a little birdhouse with massive doors. There is almost no light inside. In almost pitch black you slowly and quietly enter a room. One side is a big glass wall. Behind its Kiwi paradise: bushes, dry leaves on the ground, moisty earth with lots of worms. All lit in red, a color Kiwis don’t see very well. It is very dark though, so our eyes needed some time to adjust, but then we saw it: the stumpy body with the big feet runs around and hectically pushes his peak deep into the earth. Obviously, no worm here. Maybe here.. no, maybe her… no, maybe her… no…
It looks a bit grotesque this animal. The big clumsy animal on these large feet. You can hear it run around like a toddler who enjoys his new ability of using his feet.
Since the Kiwi is only active at night, they have changed the time schedule of the poor Kiwi, who is running on central European time now, so it is dark night for him when visitors come to see him: during the day.
Stuff we saw:
There is a geyser that erupts every hour for 15 minutes. It is a nice thing inmost the forest here in Te Puia
The eruption is lasting pretty long. Our guide grew up in the Maori village next to this area. The used to swim in the pools surrounding the geyser
tourist of course are led on wooden walkways…
bubbling swamps everywhere
hot stinky air whistling on many places
The Maori village here is embracing their culture and celebrate it. A Waka, the war-dance is a popular display
he was actually a very friendly fellow… believe it or not….
The cultural craftsmanship is taught here to the younger generation
you can watch the school and see how they work on their pieces
Stuff we did:
Te puia was one of the few things that were on our list to do from the very beginning. It is an area of geothermal activity and an important site for one of the Maoris big tribes.
We got a tour with a lady who was born in the Maori village that is just behind the park. She showed us to some of their gods, the language and the schools that they have here. The park and the entrance fee for it supports these schools, where the Maori art is taught (such as carving and weaving).
Since the Maori did not have a written language, the wood carvings show the history of their ancestors.
On the tour we crossed the workshops on a little walkway, so that we would watch the students and teachers doing their work. It was fantastic. Outside, in a shipping area they had a huge trunk with incredible carvings on it. It is about to be sent to Belgium where the NZ Army fought in WWI.
There are some geysers that we could watch with very few people around. It was fantastic to hear and feel the roaring of the water being pushed through two little blowholes for more than 30 minutes. There are wooden stairways all around so that the tourists don’t get to near the dangerous areas.
Our guide told us how she used to play with the geysers and how they would swim in the hot pools next to the geysers. She was a great guide and we got a good insight on how the Maori live was in the past and about her past in particular.
We stayed overnight at a nice camping at the blue lake where we met Jim, a 74-year-old guy whose wife has passed away 4 years ago. So, he is up to some new adventures and made his first attempt of camping. He had a very warm and hearty character. When it got nighttime, he crawled up in the back of his Ford Focus to sleep (“there is not much of me” he said, meaning he was small enough for the little car to sleep in). I the morning when we got up he was already gone. We hope he made it alright through the night. He was is really trying hard to get a good time out of his life without his wife that he lived with for over 40 years.
What a pleasure to have met him. We hope he is doing alright.
One of the nice things with Top10 membership is, that you get some goodies sometimes. At this site we got a free Hot Tub. So, we took a hot bath in the bubbling water before going into our tent.