Waggs Walkabout

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Rotorua, New Zealand

Day two in New Zealand had a distinctive smell although it wasn't pleasant it was a whole lot better than the lingering scent of car sickness. The town of Rotorua sits in an area of major geothermal activity. That means, hot springs, geysers, bubbling mud pools and plenty of sulfur!

The temperature in some of the pool exceeds the boiling point and the traditional Maori people used pools for cooking, laundry and heating their homes. Tourists have been visiting the springs in this area since the early 1800’s.

Boiling water bubbles in the pool.

Dancing mud!

Boiling mud is an intriguing concept and pretty amazing to watch.

All the springs in this area, are at or nearing the boiling point. The air temperature that day was over 80F/27C and the steam was really rolling off.  I can only imagine what it looks like in the winter.

My guys disappearing in the steam.

It took a second to understand exactly of what we were being warned.
Carving is a traditional art form of the Maori people.  These scary little totems are intended to scare away the bad guys, but I think they’re kinda cute.

Our last stop before leaving Rotorua was the Caterpillar Experience.  Growing up near Peoria, Illinois and my father and grandfather having earned their living driving Caterpillar bulldozer, made me interested the this museum.  Being a mother of a little machinery addict and the daughter and granddaughter of bulldozer operators of made it a MUST on our trip.

The museum was very well thought out and did a great job of presenting the history of New Zealand’s industrialization and the role Caterpillar equipment played in it.  On display were some of the very early models built before Cat chose yellow as their signature color.  Mining, road building and logging are key part of New Zealand’s history and heavy equipment made it all possible.  My little gearhead was in heaven with all those machines.  Several of which were open to kids to check out.

My favorite part was the footpath.  The edges had been marked with bulldozer tracks.  As I child, I occasionally got to visit my dad at work in the coal strip mines and I was always fascinated by the precision of the tracks pressed into the earth by those massive yellow machines.

From Rotorua, we headed south east to the Hawkes Bay region enjoying the amazing scenery along the way.

Those lines on the hills aren't terraces, they're paths worn by hooves!

Fencing contractor in New Zealand can be added to the list of things I definitely do NOT want to be when I grow up.

Everything is SO green and lush here, especially compared the dessert of Central Australia.

Nothing like a rest stop with a bit of scenery.

Dairy is one of the primary ag industries in NZ. 

The mountains aren't much compared to the Rockies by I wouldn't want to pedal up them!

Logging is big business here.

I'd love to see how they plant that many trees in such straight up and over mountains.
On a beautiful but long drive we found our way to Hawkes Bay and arrived at the delightful Lawn Cottages at East Clive.  I was instantly enchanted and wanted to stay forever and that was before I discovered the place was for sale.

We stayed in the aptly named Hydrangea cottage.

The cottage was lovely but the private patio iced the cake!

Each cottage even has it's own tiki!

Along the way, we had run across a great little Italian deli and cheese shop and picked up a few supplies for dinner.

After the grown-ups (that’s a reference to height and NOT mental capacity) partook in some sustenance, the garden exploring began in earnest.

The agapanthus there was amazing.

There were plenty of paths and hiding spots designed with the vertically challenged in mind.

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