Day 7. 28.07.07: I caught a flight from Queenstown to Wellington to go and stay with friends. The weather in Queenstown was wet and cold. I was hoping for better weather. NO SUCH LUCK! The weather in Wellington was just as wet and cold as it was in Queenstown. My friends picked me up at the airport and whisked me off to their cool Oriental Parade apartment which was so handy. It was central and located near all the bars and restaurants in Courtney Place.
Day 8. 29.07.07: I went exploring Wellington. Went for Yum Char in Courtney Place, a walk around the Bee Hive, up the cable car to the Botanical Gardens and got great views of Wellington Harbour. Went back down the cable car, went to the arts and craft market on the waterfront and ended up at Te Papa Museum. A very busy but enjoyable Sunday. Went to watch a cool foreign flick too, at the old movie theatre where they premiered the Lord of the Rings. The flick was a Chinese one with Stanley Ho’s daughter starring in it. Very good movie!
Day 9. 30.07.07: I had to catch a flight to Rotorua. The flight north was pretty much the same as the Queenstown – Wellington flight. WET, RAINY AND COLD! Arrived in Rotorua all safe and sound. My friends picked me up and they took me to their house where I settled in for the rest of the day and caught up with them.
Day 10: 31.07.07: The weather here was sunny but overcast at times and there was still a cold chill in the air. I went to Waiotapu, south of Rotorua to explore the volcanic wonders, Rotorua is famous for and I wasn’t disappointed! The colors of the rocks and the pools were brilliant and colorful. The smell of sulphur in the air was also prevailing and the heat emanating from, the ground took the chill out of the surrounding air. It was an eerie feeling. After this I went to Whakarewarewa, the Rahui and Te Pakira. More hot pools and steam but set in an old traditional and famous Maori pa. This was a unique setting because you were walking through a village amongst the thermal activity of the area. The Maori carvings on the buildings were beautiful and exquisite.
Day 11. 01.08.07: I went up the gondolas on the slopes of Mount Ngongotaha, overlooking Rotorua city and Lake Rotorua. The views were stunning despite the cloudy weather. The place was empty and there were very few people there. Those who were mostly there were riding the luge down the mountain and would catch the gondola back up again, only to do it again. I didn’t ride the luge either…
Day 12. 02.08.07: I went for a tour of the surrounding countryside… I went to Lake Rotoiti the home of the Ngati Pikiao people. I went to Hongi’s Track and the Wishing Tree where the famous ancestress Hinehopu hid her family from an invading war party. I then went to Waitangi hot springs at Rotoma, famous with the locals who use its therapeutic properties to heal many ailments from arthritis to dermatitis. We doubled back and found our way to Tapuaeharuru Marae on the eastern shores of Lake Rotoiti, the home of Ngati Tamateatutahi/ Kawiti. This marae was and is the focal point of the local tangata whenua (people of the land). These are their places to observe and continue their customs and traditions. From here we went back to Rotorua.
Day 13. 03.08.07 – Day 13. 04.08.07: I stayed in Rotorua with my friends meeting their friends and family.