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Visiting a Natural Cathedral

and partaking of the healing waters

sunny 65 °F
View Asia and Beyond on Aeren's travel map.

We had been to the grounds of the Government Gardens in the evening, but had not yet gone inside the Rotorua Museum of Art and History located on the grounds. It was converted from an 1880’s hospital which used mud and thermal baths to help heal skin conditions and aching muscles. Some of the claims sounded a bit outlandish, but I’m sure that there were soothing properties to the warm waters. The museum featured two films; one was about the volcanic eruption of 1886 that destroyed the famed pink and white terraces at Mt Tarawera and the other told the story of the 28th Maori Battalion in World War II.

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The Rotorua Museum of Art and History.

The documentary about the volcanic eruption came complete with a simulated earthquake in the theater as our seats shook to and fro to the rumbling sounds of the eruptions on the screen. The story of the 28th Maori Battalion brought tears to my eyes as once again I saw a people who really wanted to fit in to the greater society gave it their all. It was like the story of the American code talkers and the Tuskegee Airmen, and the 65th Infantry Battalion of Puerto Rico. All people who proved their citizenship and patriotism by providing the ultimate sacrifice. The rest of the museum had some Maori exhibits and they had designed the basement so people could put on a hard hat and see the inner workings of the pipes that provided the water and mud above.

They are adding a south wing to the museum that was in the original 1880 plans but never built because they ran out of money. The front façade is finished and provides a nice balance to the entire building.

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Entry to Government House grounds.

We decided we could not leave Rotorua without checking out the “healing waters” so we went over to the Polynesian Spa. There were all kinds of options to try out, family pools, private pools, private deluxe pools, mud therapy with spa; almost too many choices. In the end we opted for a private pool that had a view of the lake. We luxuriated in the warm water for 30 minutes and it was more than enough.

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One of the baths at Polynesian Spa.

A three hour drive later we were hiking along the coast to reach a beach known as Cathedral Cove. The 45 minute hike took us up and down to large hills. The trail was well maintained and we saw many of our favorite Tui birds as we walked. The final descent to the cove was down several staircases of over a hundred steps (though I was not counting). We could hear the surf from above long before we saw it. Cathedral Cove got its name from the shape of the tunnel through the stone which looks like the entrance to a cathedral. Normally you can walk through it to the beach on the other side but some of the ceiling had fallen so they had it closed off. After enjoying the beach for a little while we made the long trek back and drove another hour to get to our hotel in Thames.

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Another Tui bird eathing from its favorite flower.

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The Cathedral Cove.

Posted by Aeren 11:04 Archived in New Zealand

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