A couple of fellow Australian miniaturists planned to spend the Sunday of the NZAME convention going on a road trip to Rotorua, and invited me along (especially after I happened to mention that I used to live there).Suddenly I was the tour guide for the day: even when I explained that 'used to live there' was over 45 years ago...
So, after racking my brains for suitable activities, I started our day with a visit Te Puia, which would give us a Māori cultural experience at a marae, a walk through a geothermal valley so we could see geysers and mud pools, a visit to the Maori carving and weaving schools, and (if we were lucky) a glimpse of a live kiwi.
The last time I'd visited was way back in 1985, and I was looking forward to seeing it again.
First on our agenda was the marae visit and concert:
Followed by a guided tour down through the bush
to visit the geysers
We then stopped at the mud pools, where our guide explained how the mud is used:
We visited the kiwi house, but peer as we might into the darkened bush, there was no sign of our feathered friend...
Before we left Te Puia, we popped into the carving school to watch some students working on a carving,
and to the weaving school.
One of our group had said she'd like to visit the lake shore, so I took the chance to swing us by the old bath house building (now the Rotorua Museum).
We didn't have time to stay long, as we were due back in Tauranga for convention dinner. Before we left town, though, we drove along the lake front to Ohinemutu, and St Faith's Church (where I'd been baptised).
Alas, the church was already closed for the day, so we weren't able to go inside. Instead we wandered around the outside, admiring the architecture
(including the feature window of Jesus wearing a maori cloak. From inside the church it looks like he's walking on the lake...)
and the view across the lake.
Want to join me?
Finally, here's a video I took of some of the geothermal activity, showing how hot the water is:
No wonder that, when I lived in Rotorua when I was three, I refused to swim in the lake unless Dad had poured a bucket of water in it to cool it down first!