Tuesday, 31 August 2010


The days fly by.

We enjoyed our visit to Rotorua last week. The weather report wasn't encouraging for any sight seeing but in fact what little rain fell never bothered us.

On Thursday Jay went shopping in the morning and TWJ went for a walk around the town while I lazed back at the Motel. We decided to have lunch at Capers, a Cafe with a very smart Deli. I've enjoyed the food and coffee there on other trips. We all had something to our taste and Jay got carried away at the Deli. One of her purchases was Elderflower Cordial made in the South Island. We tried it on Friday night and it was very nice, quite a delicate clean flavour and not too sweet.

Jay wanted to go to the Buried Village and I had only been there once many years ago. Jay paid for us otherwise I don't think we'd have gone in to look around. It was well worth the trip but $30 each was a lot to pay. There was a small discount of 10% for seniors.

We went through the museum, refreshing our history lessons and viewing all the exhibits before walking through what remains of the village. There have been archaeological diggings going on for many decades. The excavations revealed the depth of mud that covered the village that day. The highlight for me was viewing the waterfall. It was a very steep staircase down then up again. I struggled a little, especially with the steps that were over a foot high and one short section of staircase that was almost vertical. The waterfall was at it's best. Roaring as the water raced down the cliff dividing many times and so pretty. The photos cannot do it justice. I'm a little disappointed in the photos. I don't think Jay's camera is as good as ours and guess what .... we left our camera in the Motel.

I'm very sorry I can't load them up onto here because I'm having some issues with the laptop.

The Buried Village was called
Te Wairoa and became buried in what is known as New Zealand's greatest natural disaster when Mt. Tarawera erupted in 1886. Altogether 120 people are said to have died in the district but many survived to tell the most amazing stories.

Te Wairoa was a tiny tourist town with several hotels. Tourists came from all over the world to visit the Pink and Whits Terraces which were called one of the great wonders of the world, ranked alongside the Seven Wonders. They were completely destroyed, obliterated by the 1886 volcanic eruption. Jay has visited the terraces in Turkey and thought they were not as extensive or as spectacular as the these had once been.

We thought a lot about what it would be like living or being a tourist in NZ in the 1880s. NZ was still largely undeveloped and coach roads were rough and rugged through the rain forest. The women wore many skirts, up to 6 I'm told. How on earth did they walk? It was quite a journey just to get to Rotorua then another coach ride through dark forest. It took us about 20 minutes on a good road to go from Rotorua to the village. My guess is that it took the best part of a day in a coach with horses.

The tourists stayed in one of the hotels and waited for a fine day then trekked down a the steep valley for what looked like miles to where a boat waited on Lake Tarawera. The trip across the lake was followed by another walk across the isthmus dividing L. Rotomahana from L.Tarawera. Another boat ride took the visitors to the Pink and White Terraces where they could climb to the top. Men and children bathed in the pools along the way. The pools were graduated in heat from cool/warm at the bottom to extremely hot at the top. I don't know what the women did with all their petticoats when they climbed the hills but there were old photos of women in all their finery standing near the top of the terraces. They were strong women. I guess they were the adventurers of their time. You'd have to be slightly crazy to travel from England in a sailing ship for weeks then climb in a rocking stage coach and travel for more days through 'uncivilised' land let alone do the great trek out to the Terraces. Many made the journey. I can't remember the visitor numbers but they were not too shabby. It was extremely fashionable for the well-to-do to visit Rotorua and surrounding areas way back then.

After a our hard climb back up from the waterfall we had coffee in the Cafe. Very nice and served by ladies in period dress keeping with the 1880s theme.

We went out again for dinner. We couldn't decide where to eat so we parked the car and walked along Tutanekai Street where almost every business is a restaurant. Chinese, Indian, Middle Eastern, Italian, New Zealand, Steak House and more. We eventually chose an Italian restaurant and had a very good meal. Jay bought a bottle of red wine. I had as my main some kind of rice balls called ARANCINI for 14.90, crispy risotto balls filled with mozzarella, cashews, pumpkin & chilli, with a capsicum apricot chutney. It was delicious. I had the Antipasti size so there was room for dessert, Borghese, chocolate almond torte.

I always chuckle when we have mozzarella or bocconcini. On our first cruise we had a few dinners in the formal dining room. Mostly we go to the continuous buffet because we don't need to dress-up. In the dining room our waiter was a drop dead gorgeous Croatian and we enjoyed talking to him. Several of us had a Bocconcini Salad and I for one, was very disappointed by the lack of flavour in those small, creamy-white balls. We spoke to our waiter who told us in his most charmingly accented English, "The thing with the flavour of Bocconcini is that it has no flavour."

Friday I soaked in our spa pool, just the right warmth and loads of lavender scented bubbles, before breakfast. We had some shopping to do. Linen from Farmers and lace, ribbon and buttons from Spotlight. Then New World for a picnic lunch to take to our son's place. It was good to visit with him and find him well. We left Rotorua after 3 pm. We thought we'd have dinner at the Cowshed Restaurant in Tairua but they were booked out with a birthday party so we continued on to Whitianga where we stopped again. At New World we bought a quiche and salad for our dinner, and enough supplies to see us through the next few days. We ate at Mum's before driving the last bit home, finally arriving after 9 pm feeling very tired. The drive from Kopu to Whitianga was follow the leader in a long stream of traffic in front and behind. Everyone was coming to Whitianga for the Scallop Festival. We normally avoid travelling on such days but you can't always avoid it.

I haven't done a lot since we got home but TWJ mowed our lawns today. Tomorrow we have a full day out. And now I must go to bed.

I hope I can get my laptop fixed. I can't access any data because my profile has been corrupted. I have no idea what's going on.
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