Tuesday, 14th January 2020

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I checked into the posh Regent of Rotorua hotel, and showered after my long black disaster at The Shire's Rest. The hotel even rang my room to see if I was happy!

Google Maps got me to Te Puia where a Maori guide explained their culture and the importance of their body tattoo-ing. We were shown a well where traditional crafts are passed on, and taken round some of the volcanic attractions at Te Puia. The guide explained the ruined hotel which had been built in the wrong place and had a sinkhole open under it. We also saw a kiwi in a kiwi house before returning to the main buildings. We watched as they lifted the food for the hangi meal we were going to have from the oven pits. There was some Maori dancing and singing, I didn't go up on stage as some brave people did. I dined on table 22 with 5 Americans which was great before returning to the hotel. There was no space in the Regent's car park so parked on street but had to move car before 9am.

January 15th 2020

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Had a Spanish omelette for breakfast (veg including brocolli) then drove to Waiotapu. First stop was the Lady Knox geyser where a vast crowd had gathered to see them tip soap down the funnel to produce a spume. At first it just bubbled soapily then spurted forth high. I didn't know until then that this is a common practice so geysers keep to a tourist timetable. Walked round some of Waiotapu's volcanic area: frothing mud pools, collapsed craters still steaming away, a champagne pool with bubbles which had a green daughter pool off it. Rather popular but it was summer holidays here.

As I was driving around saw signs asking people to report wallabies, apparently wallabies have joined possums as pests here. On way to airport tried to refuel at BP garage but they wanted you to prepay first for a set number of gallons so that didn't work. Got luggage tag at kiosks but too soon to drop bag off so had a chicken and cheese toastie and lemon ginger tea to pass the time.

The plane itself was a small turbo-prop. Shaky on flight as it was a smaller plane and I trembled more from the turbulence than I did on the larger jets.