Saturday, 21 December 2013

21st December 2013 Hells Gate Grind

Weather quite good again today. The target today is to get to Hells Gate, a tourist attraction about 10 miles from Rotorua.

Rotorua Airport

Rode out along the lake side to highway 30. Not certain about riding on the main trunk roads but the traffic is fairly light and there is a good cycle path both sides of the road. The road runs past the local airport which serves this region.

Lavender fields

Just past the airport, turned of the main road heading towards Hells Gate.  This farm was selling lavender for $4 (£2) a bunch. Didn't fancy carting that all over the place. Surprisingly, there was no smell from the field itself.

Hells Gate

For more than 700 years, Rotorua Maori have lived on this special site, treasured by the Maori as a place of healing and revitalisation.  The first Europeans visited this site more than 150 years ago.
The park itself is full of boiling lakes and mud and is a fine example of geothermal activity.  I visited this place about 10 years ago so did not want to go in again, but the kind Maori lady on the gate let me take my bike in to get a sample of the place.  You can see the steam coming out of the ground in the centre of the shot. There are hot pools and mud pools if anyone fancies a dip.

Maori Mask

This giant mask guards the entrance to the site. Not sure what is behind it but it certainly is very intimidating.


Harawene was a foxie cross terrier that lived at the side of highway 30, one of the main roads into Rotorua. With no apparent owner, she became part of the community and the local people watched over her for more than 10 years. When she died in 2008, Fiona Cairns, a local resident decided to raise some money for a memorial to her and raised $8000 which paid for this bronze statue and plaque. The Santa hat has become part of the legend at Christmas time.

A good ride today. One highlight was spotting a black kite hunting over some tall trees near the road side. A guesstimate of the mileage today would be about 20miles. 

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