Morning ‘geyser’ run, quick shower, hotel check out, short walk downtown.  Last day on North Island (for a week).

Add bicycle to my expanding list of NZ transportation.  Happy Ewe Cycle Tours.  Hadn’t been on a bike since I crashed out of Ironman Boulder, August 3rd 2014.  Mangled bike still in the garage…completely serious.

Half day tour.  27 stops around geyser-rich Rotorua, one of NZ’s flattest stretches of territory.

Government Gardens.  Specifically, Prince’s Arch and Gateway (built for the country’s first royal visit in 1901).  Met our happy guide, Roger – then received safety info which stayed [with] us, our entire NZ journey.  Hand up, formed an L.  Left means Life.  Driving British this holiday…yep, on the Left.  Phrase stuck for 2 weeks.  Few times my travel bestie drove ‘American’, I’d calmly chirp – “Left means life, left means life” – & she’d promptly adjust lanes.  No worries.  LOL>

Bike, check.  Helmet, check.  First stop: Ohinemutu, a living Māori village and the original settlement of Rotorua.  Ready to roll.  Hadn’t cycled in 2 ½ years, started out a bit spooked.  I’ve got this!  Thanks Dawn, for reintroducing me back to the pedal 🙂

Fave stop:  Kuirau Park, in the heart of Rotorua is New Zealand’s only geothermal public park.

Churches, historical buildings, public gardens – but it’s Kuirau Park I’ll remember.  Plumes of foggy sulfur obscured our ride over the swallow lake center.  Bridge-biking over barren wasteland.  Warm, humid steam billowed from the ground.  WOW, just WOW!

Legend of Kuiarau:  In the early 1800s, the small lake in the centre of the park was much cooler and was known as Taokahu.  Legend tells us that a beautiful young woman named Kuiarau was bathing in the waters when a taniwha (dragon) dragged her to his lair below the lake.  The gods above were infuriated and made the lake boil so that the Taniwha would be destroyed forever.  From that time on, the bubbling lake and the steaming land around it have been known by the name of the lost woman, although the spelling has changed a little from Kuiarau to ‘Kuirau.’

Ended today’s ride in Government Gardens.   Specifically, Rotorua Museum – former Bath House, now the town’s museum.  Photo opp, goodbyes to our guide, then ride-shared to the airport.

Small puddle jumper to Christchurch.  Tomorrow’s adventures start on South Island!

 

 

Kuirau Park (Rotorua NZ)

 

 

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