New Zealand is rich in culture, especially from the Maori, the first settlers on the island. The Maori are descendants of Polynesians, who came by canoes from Hawaii and Papua New Guinea, as well as other islands a long, long time ago! Our next visit was to Te Puia, which was an immense location for learning about Maori Culture. Situated in Rotorua, it was a short drive from our stay, and we reached there in the morning, slightly before 9am.
Baby picked up the tickets at the counter by providing a print-out, as he had ordered the tickets online prior to our arrival in NZ. I felt the admission was pretty pricey, but Baby insisted as he wanted to me to experience a full tour! The tour at Te Puia consisted of a walking tour within a Maori Village, some Geysers, a Kiwi Enclosure, and a live Haka Performance by actual Maori!
The tour gave me a rounded view of Rotorua, and I gained a lot of experiences on Maori culture, as well as learning what Geothermal activity was about. It was very impressive and I felt it was worthwhile!
At Te Puia, I saw the largest Geyser which left me at marvelling at its natural splendour!
Apart from the geothermal geysers of Te Puia, we also passed by one of the largest mud pools I had ever seen. These mud pools are rich in minerals, and must go through process that can be used as various products for the skin. A visit to New Zealand will not be competed without meeting the national icon, The Kiwi bird! They are nocturnal and incredibly shy!
We ended our tour in Te Puia with a dance performance, a few songs and a Haka War Dance by Maori performers. The Maori performance was amazing, and they performed some traditional dances, rituals and songs which involved the audience's participation. The show was rounded off by some wonderful Maori folk songs and a powerful haka performance!
I enjoyed the entire tour and the performance very much, thanks Baby for getting the tickets to this attraction. It given me a deeper understanding of Maori culture and traditions!
It was almost 1pm and it was time for us to get going to MataMata for our Hobbiton tour! We regretted not purchasing the tickets earlier, as it was a hassle to drive an hour back to Mata Mata to get there. I got myself a bottle of Golden Kiwi drink to make me feel better!
Upon reaching the MataMata's Tourist Information site, we parked our car and we made haste to the ticketing counter to collect our reserved tickets. Our tour started at 3.30pm (the last slot of the day). My advice is... GRAB YOUR TICKETS EARLY!
The tour cost us NZD79 per pax for a short 2 hour guided tour which was rather steep. However, my opinion is that it was totally worth the money spent, especially if you are a fan of the 'Lord of the Rings'. Entering Hobbiton is akin to entering an old English village, very much like the books and movies! I'm rather certain everyone will enjoy themselves here!
Hobbiton is a famous tourist attraction, as it is akin to entering a magical land of hobbit holes and everyone wants to experience that!
Beware of photo galore ahead....
The movie set venue was so beautiful that I didn't want to leave this place! It was a truly unique experience. We learnt some very interesting trivia and stories from the tour guide as well. One story had a group of English tourists coming here dressed as real hobbits. If you've read the books or seen the movies, you would know that the gist of the movie was destroying an evil Ring by throwing it into lava where it was forged. Well in the movie, the scene where the ring was destroyed was filmed at Mt Ruapehu, a good 4-5 hour drive away from MataMata. The English tourists wanted the full experience, so they WALKED From Hobbiton to Mt Ruapehu, which the tour guide said they took 3 days! Insane I tell you!
We ended our tour at the Green Dragon, a tavern/bar built on the movie set, and were given a choice of a free drink to round up our Hobbiton tour!
I selected the Ginger Beer, and it tasted fabulous.
Due to Autumn, the sky turned dark around 5pm, and we headed off for dinner at MataMata town before heading back to Rotorua. The drive-back from MataMata was kinda of dangerous and scary, as it was pitch black and there was not a single lamp post on the highway! Baby was forced to use his high beams to have a clear view of the roads in front of us. I didn't even think our drive when we were in the US was as scary as this! Thanks Jesus for looking out for us and getting us back to Rotorua safely!
We continued staying in Rotorua, and we went to more attractions as well. I will touch upon these places in my next post entry!