Monday, February 13, 2017

Rotorua to Christchurch->February 13, 2017

Leaving the hotel at 7:45 am we had our luggage stowed in the motorcoach as we were driven a short distance to Rainbow Springs Nature Park.  We had a guide that led us about the park.  Rainbow Springs is a natural spring with rainbow trout.  This area is a green forested area with the sounds of birds throughout. Sequoias trees that were brought from US back in the 1930's are thriving here although the wood is not as dense as the US Sequoias.  Kiwi, native birds of New Zealand have been decreasing in numbers due to unnatural predators, as stoats and opossums, being brought to this country.  This park is working to increase the kiwis by taking eggs incubating, hatching and raising the chicks until mostly full grown then released into the wild.  Programs to eradicate the predators are also being done.
Back on the bus for another short ride in the town of Rotorua.  The Te Puia Thermal Reserve was our next stop.  Again we had a guide that walked with us talking about this Geo-thermal area that was very much like a small version of Yellowstone National Park in the US.  There were geysers, mud pots and very hot pools.  New Zealand has numerous inactive volcanoes throughout the entire country.
Once again we were on the bus but this time we were taken to the Rotorua airport where we caught a plane for Christchurch, a town on the southern island.  The flight was a little more than one and a half hours long.  A bus was waiting for us when we landed so we loaded up in that bus. The tour director, Katie, and bus driver, Ron, gave us a tour of the city of Christchurch.  In 2011 there was an earthquake that did quite a bit of destruction in the city and there has been ongoing reconstruction which was evident.  A memorial of 186 chairs all painted white depicts the lives lost during that earthquake.  A cathedral across the street from the hotel, Novotel, where are staying tonight, appears to have a lot of destruction.
We had an evening to do whatever, so we went out and found a small restaurant for an evening meal.  We had only had a half sandwich each before boarding the plane so we were getting hungry.