Being a tourist in Rotorua

So the last few days I have been focusing on being a tourist. My walk into town the other day was a great experience. There were a few mud pots on the way, so I took some video of those. You’ll have to check out my instagram @mamamoilanen, I have a few on there.

Mud pots on the way into Rotorua
Mud pots on the way into Rotorua

I did some shopping for souvenirs, and had some lunch at a cafe. I am falling in love with the pies. New Zealand does savory pies, and muffins. They are delicious.

Steak pie, SO yummy!
Steak pie, SO yummy!

They are getting ready for Christmas down here, it is very different for me to be walking around in a t-shirt and listening to Christmas music!! Many people were out and about shopping and they have decorations up.

Decorations in downtown Rotorua
Decorations in downtown Rotorua

The flowers are blooming and the air is fragrant. Although in Rotorua you do also get a whiff of sulfur smell from all the geothermals, which is not as pleasant.

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More beautiful blooms on my walk
More beautiful blooms on my walk

After my walk and the geologists got back from sampling we had to say goodbye to a few members of our group. Damien, who is a teacher in Christchurch, and Dr. Ayla Pamukcu who was with us after just being in Antarctica. So we dropped them off at the Rotorua airport.

All the geologists together.
All the geologists together.

Then we headed to Blue Lake for a quick swim. It was nice and refreshing! Once again an odd experience of going swimming in a lake in December!! 🙂

Blue Lake
Blue Lake

Our Holiday park had natural hot springs that they put into pools for people to sit in. So basically a natural hot tub!! I don’t know the temperature, but it was pretty hot!!

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Then we cooked dinner. We have been grilling a lot of vegetables, including eggplant, zucchini, peppers, and onions. And to my own surprise I have been eating and even enjoying the onions!

Each night the grad students present their projects and ideas to the professors and the other grad students. They are able to get suggestions from each other and possibly other ideas on how to approach their area of research. I follow along for a while and then they are 90 miles above my head again! 😉

The next day, Thursday December 14th, we all went out to breakfast to a place called the Fat Dog. It had enormous portion sizes. My hot chocolate came in a bowl and I had a mountain of french toast. I couldn’t even finish it all! I was absolutely delicious though!

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My mountain of french toast
My mountain of french toast
Bowl of hot chocolate
Bowl of hot chocolate

Then we headed to a geothermal park. It was super cool. It was called Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. I did some time lapse video that is pretty fun. I am hoping to get that loaded to the TV at school for Monday. The area is covered with collapsed craters, boiling pools of mud, water and steaming fumaroles. The air smells like “rotten eggs” because of the Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) that is being formed because of the water that contains sulfur is boiling.  We also saw some orange and neon green. The orange was because of the presence of the chemical antimony and the neon green was a mix of colloidal sulfur and ferrous salts. The water was super hot and full of dangerous chemicals, so swimming in it would be a very bad idea. But there are some birds that live in and around that area. We saw a Pied Stilt feeding on insects and it was very unconcerned about the acidic hot waters it was walking in.

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Ok, I am a few days behind, the internet has not been my friend, I will try and get another blog post in tomorrow on the plane. Yep, that’s right, my adventure is almost over. It has been a wonderful time, but I am ready to get back and squeeze my loved ones. More tomorrow….

 

 


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