30 October 2011

School of Mines & Rotorua

Mineral Museum

We spent our last day in Thames exploring the School of Mines with Richard and Tony, the father of our host Patrick.  I was very keen to see their mineral collection!


The minerals were the initial attraction, but the tour of the school turned out to be excellent as well.  It was interesting to learn about the local gold mining process, and how gold is extracted from quartz.

The furnace room

Laboratory in the School of Mines

Sam and I have been traveling down the country exploring different cities to decide where we might want to live out the remainder of our visa.  There are some beautiful places outside of Rotorua, but the city itself smells awful due to the hydrogen sulfide emissions from the geothermal activity.  I'm not really sure how to describe the odor.  Rotten eggs?  Burnt fireworks and feet?  Something dead?  What really excited me about the area were the geothermal attractions and hot springs, but most turned out to be commercial and too expensive for our budget, so I was disappointed.

However, the area is beautiful and we've managed to have a great time so far.  We are staying at the Lyons Lakestay on lake Okareka, and our hosts Cheryl and Steve are very nice.  Also, the air is fresh and clean here away from the city.  We've been on a couple hikes, and tomorrow we're going to check out a free hot spring on the way to our next hosts in Taupo.


It turns out Rotorua has a forest of California redwoods down the street!


Ghost pond
We found a colorful pond in the redwood forest, but it smelled putrid.

Karate chop

After a morning of squatting to clear out an overgrown garden and an afternoon hike through the redwoods, my legs were very sore.   Regardless, we spent today walking as well, around the nearby Blue Lake.

Blue Lake

Silver gull


I think the lesson here is that even when something disappoints you, it's sure to have some redeeming qualities.  Such as ducklings.

Cute tiny flower

1 comment:

AmyG said...

Are you planning to make your way down to the South Island eventually? I think it might even beat Scotland as my favorite place so far...although now I'm wishing we had time to see North Island. It looks amazing!