Monday, February 15, 2010

From Auckland to the Coromandel to Tauranga and Rotorua

Monday, February 15, 2010

Our trip has finally concluded. I am sitting at Auckland Airport - and reflecting on our wee trip.

Lasting Impressions:
  1. ANTS; they were like everywhere, and I do mean everywhere. You cannot leave unclean dishes in the kitchen sink, and they are in the garden and yeah every Motel we stayed in had them. So creepy. Must be the warmer weather that allows them to bread. Speaking of weather - we are here and despite some passing showers (some more heavier then others) it is still a pleasant 20 Degree Celsius!! Christchurch is reported to have 11 degrees. all of a sudden - a extended stay in Whitianga looks very tempting indeed. We sort of have decided that we can and will retire into the Coromandel - probably Whitianga!!
  2. WATER; we who live in Christchurch just do not appreciate how clean our drinking water is. For myself - I have never known chlorinated water in Austria and of course not in Christchurch. Coming north however is a different taste. Worst was in the town of Rotorua - and I do remember a particular gray and foul taste near Hamilton. Maybe Rotorua has been the worst because the local smell is also contributing to your senses being over run!!
  3. SILVERFERN; Until now I have never seen one in the wild!! So when we stomped through Hells Gate - we came across the lovely story of the fern and its meaning. I will need to extract the info from the photo and re-type it and then blog it at a later stage.
  4. GARLIC BREAD; We (or should that be mamabear) decided that we need a true holiday and THAT apparently included a no cooking / dishes week. So we did manage to eat on the cheap and on the run at times, but we also did eat out a few times and every time we had some garlic bread. They came in a variety of sizes and forms - so much so that I will sit down and at a later stage create a garlic bread - food critic (on a separate blog) and continue to update that every time we go out for a meal (which no doubt includes a garlic bread). This could be a bit of fun - data to be included ought to be where and when consumed and of course a description of the garlic bread - it's consistency / shape/ flavour / crunchiness etc / cost / service and maybe a email / web page link of the place to be critiqued!
  5. SCENERY; just stunning - and ok - the sunshine helped - but yeah it has to be seen to be believed! The only downer was the increased commercialization of the various enterprises. The huge crowds in a small spot of Hot Water beach and Cathedral Cove!! Then if we compare some of the mud pool places in Rotorua. Hells Gate was just right - it had the right balance of value for money, The info was short and to the point and the self guided tour was just long enough. The various hot pools and mud things / geysers where in a relative concentrated space - so no great distance to be walked. Compare this to Te Puia - which I guess had more a focus on increasing the local Maori culture in terms of arts and crafts / carving and language school. The mud pools etc where almost like a after thought and where a bit more spaced apart, and it cost more in entry fees. Now I don't mind the growing of the local Maori identity - but if you just want to go round the pools - trust me your better of with Hells Gate. Interestingly enough both the Buried Village and Waimangu boat lake trip are still a fledgling tourist venture and as such still provided excellent value for $$, especially if you are interested a bit in the local history. There is a place for tourism in NZ and in sharing our beautiful country - but there needs to be a balance of people involved. Certainly (in my opinion) places like Milford Sound have got the balance wrong!! Maybe it is time to instate a visiting visa application and limit that to xxx nr of tourists per year, and maybe charge a flat fee that will go straight towards upgrading the infra structure in high tourist places. Anyone still wanting to disagree - just check out the damage some freedom campers are causing. There are a number of places - for example a short 20 min walk into the the bush to see the Kauri trees, where (IF you look hard enough) you can see used toilet paper on the side of the walk!! EEEEK

so in order of my top three attractions:

  1. Kelly Tarltons - (as someone who has three fish tanks at home [180l; 80l; 50l] and enjoys the aquariums) I feel inspired by the massive tanks and aqua display. Awesome display's!!!!
  2. Cathedral Cove - By a whisker (and it won only because there was some very attractive wild-life wandering up and down the beach)
  3. Hells Gate - The close proximity of the various types of mud pools / boiling steaming water / silicon covered rocks / native bush walk / understated quiet Maori presence was indeed impressive!!

    A very unlucky 4th place needs to go to the town of Whitianga. It has nothing special to point to - but its close proximity to everything - almost central located to all sights / sounds / tastes/ etc and it's quiet life style, high sunshine count, not in your face tourist income, rated very highly with this bear. I can't speak for mamabear - so she will have to give her top 3 choices / reasons later.

    hmmmmm still waiting for the plane - time to contemplate all the jobs waiting for us back home that did not get done while we were away.

    Have fun

    Tuesday Feb 16

    FOUND IT. . . . . The story about the silver fern - I copy and paste it here . . .


    The native bush walk contains a number of plant species that are unique to New Zealand - none more so than the silver fern.

    New Zealand native bush walks at Hells Gate thermal park

    This fern’s leaves are green on top but silver underneath. It is worn as a symbol on all of New Zealand's National Teams uniforms such as the All Blacks, the Silver Ferns netball team and Team New Zealand in the Americas Cup.

    The reason why this is used as a national symbol, is not well known by New Zealanders, but like many symbols used today its importance was to our Maori people first and then transferred across into our modern society.

    In days gone by Maori would go on raiding parties to nearby Pa (villages) for food, tools or most importantly woman to safeguard the tribes future. To increase the element of surprise warriors would attack at night without the use of burning torches, using only the upturns of a fern leaf as a pointer indication of the direction that the warrior party was being led.

    The war party of 20 to 30 warriors would be one to two meters apart in a single file and were able to easily see where the leader was taking the war party through the reflection of the luminous silver fern. The last warrior in the war party would turn the leaf back over so that no one would know where they had been or where they were going. Thus for Maori the silver fern has always meant going for a goal, going to achieve something.

    When the first Rugby team left New Zealand shores in the late 1880's the team players and management were looking for a symbol for their jersey. Two choices were considered, the kiwi and the silver fern. The Maori team members advised against the use of the Kiwi as it does not fly, only comes out at night and that maori eat them, which is not really the message that we believe we need to state. The silver fern however shows clearly that we are going with one objective in mind and that is to win, to achieve a goal. Since that time all of our NZ sporting codes have carried the silver fern to symbolise "striving to achieve a goal" or "to win".

    So from a Maori perspective the silver fern has always symbolised 'going for a goal' hence its use on all of our national teams uniforms.

    Another very important symbol used today is that of the Koru. The Koru is the growing frond of the fern. Its design is a series of circles that completely surrounds the growing tip of the new fern fond or branch. This symbol is used by Air New Zealand. Where that symbol comes from and its significance once again has its origin with Maori.

    From this design our Maori people believe that it stands for growth, nurturing and protection. In Air New Zealand’s case they use the symbol to convey to their clients and potential clients that they will nurture and protect their clients when flying with them and that the airline is continually growing and improving.

    After your bush walk why not enjoy a relaxing mud bath or spa, click here to indulge!


    I am also told that it is a very effective tool in SARS - that is, our NZ pilots are trained to look out for the reflective silver fern on the ground. Should you ever be lost in the bush and come across a silver fern - three or four leaves of the silver fern turned over / upside down and in the same spot, can be as effective a signal as a bright shiny torch!! Now that is something worth remembering - next time you go bush!!

    bear print

0 Leave ur comment here :

◄Design by Pocket