A ball and ramp,naked tramp and a guide who's camp
Trip Start Feb 26, 2010
371Trip End Feb 26, 2011
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The climb down was much more relaxed and we had a good chat were we may have decided upon a wedding date and venue. We got back to the van relieved to find we hadn’t been broken into (the Lonely Planet as well as local signs suggested this is another notorious spot for break ins). We then headed for Kerosene Creek just around the corner. This is another bathing spot but in a river and free. It was a lot colder than yesterday but had waterfalls. We hung around for a short while then realised we were getting towards the time for the cultural performance at one of the local thermal villages, Whakarewarewa (and this is the shortened version the proper title is 30 odd letters long). We chose to do this tour as the people guiding you and performing actually live in the village themselves and have done for years, the guides are descendents of previous guides it really does run in the blood line so we felt it was a little more sincere than some of the other more expensive experiences
After paying our entrance fee we headed on to the cultural performance. It was really good and featured lots of singing, dancing, live music and a Haka, the war dance meaning ‘breath of fire’. The people undertaking the show were all from one family and were really proud of their line of decendancy. They were really interesting as well. After about 40 minutes we headed down to the front gate to meet the tour guide, a very camp guy who you could just imagine did this job as a sideline to his day job as a transvestite performer, essentially the difference between our tour and many of the others is that ours was one quarter of the price and was around a real life village. A culture that has been evident for a couple of centuries is that all the kids are in the river below the bridge shouting for the tourists to throw coins into the water then they would all race and dive for the coins. This tradition known as ‘penny diving’ has been going on for over 100 years as has the tour of this amazing township. Even the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall visited around 1900. It was really fascinating and we stood immediately on the fault lines of the earth’s crust. The villagers bathed in the thermal waters and cooked in some of the pools and ‘boxes’ using either steaming or boiling techniques. Things seemed to cook so quickly, 5 kilograms of rice cooked in 5 minutes and 10 whole chickens took about 40 minutes from recollection
The tour ended watching the Price of Wales Feathers Geyser and the famous Pohutu (Big Splash) Geyser erupting which can fire water up to about 40 metres, both used to be active once an hour but since Mount Etna last erupted they have been a lot more active and now erupt four times an hour. As we sat being sprayed by the water from the geyser we decided it was probably time to head home. It was six o clock and we had experienced another incredible day.