Monday, 23 December 2013

23rd December 2013 Ngongotaha and back

Did a fair amount of walking yesterday so had the day off from cycling. The weather has turned a bit today but not enough to get out and about. Left Rotorua and headed north on highway 5 to the little town of Ngongotaha.

Skyline gondolas

Just out of Rotorua is a tourist attraction built into the side of a hill. It is a continuous cable car which at the top, gives good views over the city and the lake that it is named after. There is also an option, for those of a less sensitive nature, to return to the bottom by luge, a small one person sledge, on a concrete track. Not for me thank you.


An imitation of the famous Las Vegas sign, this welcomes visitors to the Skyline facility. And not a casino in sight.

Maori War Canoe

This boat is at the entrance to a Maori village. Known as a Waka Taua, these are large canoes manned by up to 80 paddlers and can be up to 40 meters long. The hull is made out of a single hollowed out log and elaborately carved and decorated. Fearsome in times of war as these boats were used to ram the boats of enemies.

Mitai Village

A tourist attraction, this village puts on daily shows celebrating the Maori culture. The Waka can be seen paddling along a river and food is cooked under ground in the thermal pools and rocks. Beware the Haka greeting when you first arrive!


Started in the early 90s, this is a popular pastime for tourists and locals alike. It has spread from New Zealand across many countries. It consists of, if you are brave enough, being sealed into this large plastic ball and rolled down a hill. Nothing more to be said really. Variations are being strapped in, or not, or holding a bucket of water on your lap as you start the descent. I have seen these at Villa park at half time when two 'contestants' race each other the length of the pitch. Takes all sorts.

Could have gone further today but the cycle track petered out at Ngongotaha so felt it prudent to turn back. Another 12. miles for the log though

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