Route to Rotorua – Our Sunday started with a visit to St. Andrew’s By the Sea where we joined a Presbyterian/Methodist combined congregation in worship. We were two of six guests (two others of whom were the visiting preachers, a man and wife team retired from congregational ministry) which when added to the regulars brought attendance to16 folks in the church – rather smallish, to be sure, but a cheerful and warm group. The preaching team tagged off in a message on Comfort and Joy – solidly Biblical and encouraging.
A short drive down the coast brought us to Hot Sands Beach right in the middle of low tide, prime time to experience the sand heated by steaming ground water. Being there on a week-end during summer holidays was amazing as there were LOADS of folks – families, couples, surfers, swimmers – there with us.
Glad we stopped but also glad to head on further down the road to Rotorua. We were able to take our time, so admired some terrific kauri trees,
stopped to have lunch on the beach, hiked to the tumultuous Okere Falls, and pulled over to buy some sweet corn from a fellow in his truck alongside the road.
We’ve made some adjustments to our itinerary, eliminating some stops and lengthening our stay in others so we can mosey and not hurry, a good thing at our age. : )
Rotorua: A Mess of Geothermal Features – After settling in nicely at the Pohutu Lodge here in Rotorua, we started easily today with a visit to the local Museum (supposedly the most photographed building in all of New Zealand). The Museum was first a bath house designed in the early 1900s to capitalize on the local geothermal features, but today it houses a very fine museum in a wonderful setting. We spent the majority of our day there, enjoying the displays, attending carefully to the docent during a guided tour, viewing two informative documentary films, and learning much about the Maori culture and contributions in NZ history.
After hiking to and around Sulfur Point, we drove down lots of narrow neighborhood streets, using steam evidence to locate some of the MANY geothermal features (vents, bubbling mudpots and boiling water) all around town.
In the process, we ended up in a Maori neighborhood where we found the Church of the Faith and a thriving, active Maori meeting house.
It was a very good day that ended with Gerry steaming some local mussels (for one – I wasn’t that adventurous) to accompany our fresh corn on the cob for dinner …. Ahhhh!
P.S. (from Gerry) I have always wanted to have my own fumarole in my backyard, what could be better than having a steam vent to call your own? In Rotorua, many homes do. In one part of town, many backyards were belching steam skywards, sometimes from a tall pipe, sometimes from the backyard rock garden. Now this is true volcano country!