Rotorua

Picked up the rental car and John stepped right back into driving on the opposite side of the road. Observation: so far, NZ roads are wider than Ireland’s roads! And there are shoulders! Hallelujah, for our stress levels and other drivers’ safety. Rotorua is a geothermal region and there are mineral baths, steam vents, and other signs of this activity all over. And the scent of sulfur too. Fortunately, neither one of us seemed to have any effects from it. It is also an area of great Māori heritage. There is so much to learn and so many ways to butcher the words.

We visited the Waimangu Valley, an area with long walking trails alongside steam vents, boiling water streams, and mineral deposits. So interesting to see. I’d be terrified to take kids there LOL. Then we did something that felt slightly sacrilegious—we walked along suspension bridges at the tops of very young (relatively) redwood trees. It smelled so familiar, peaty, earthy, fragrant. These trees are only 120 years old. Honestly I’m not sure how all the straps and braces required to mount the walkways won’t kill the trees, but it was worth the stop to experience it.





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