Awoken early by the departure of our neighbours (but double check they’ve actually gone).  Take a drive into town and have a stroll around the lake and look at the local market.  Rotorua is famous for bungy jumping, jetboating, that rolling down a hill in a big ball thing (can’t remember what it’s called) and skydiving.  I choose to spend the morning at the Polynesian Spa!  John sits next to me and sulks!  (Actually I think he enjoyed it a lot.)  The Polynesian Spa is a collection of hot mineral spring pools overlooking the lake and varying in temperature from 36-42 degrees.  Gradually work our way into the hotter ones, in between cooling off under a freezing shower.  I love the spa!  Outside the pools are a juice bar and huge shop crammed with beauty products – it takes some time for John to be able to drag me away.

Spend a quiet afternoon sorting out the photos (you should get a request for a link to flickr now) and then (well polished and buffeted from our many spas and treatments) we join a tour to the Maori Village leaving at 6pm.  This is a bit of a tourist hotspot but it’s also very enjoyable.  These two Maori brothers set up a working village just outside of town showing traditional building, crafts and lifestyle of the Maori people.  Clearly they are now multi-millionaires living it up.  Arrive at the village and all the tourists are shunted into a circular greeting area like lambs to the slaughter.  Each coach group of tourists (6 in total – they’re really raking it in) has an elected chief who has to stand up front and do a traditional greeting with the Maori chief.  Tempted to suggest John for the role of chief but am very kind and keep quiet (much to his relief).  The Maori people are the only race that greets people with a display of aggression – showing their weapons and fighting prowess.  It’s fascinating.  We are then led into the “village” area to see various people demonstrating skills such as weaving plant leaves to make clothes, mats and fishing nets.  Next we move to the equivalent of a village hall where we are told a Maori story and watch traditional dancing including the haka.  After this we go to have a hungi which is a traditional dinner cooked in the ground amongst hot stones.  Bizzarely the hungi appears to be similar to a roast dinner but served with mussels and salad, followed by pavlova for pudding.  There is a bar and everyone quickly knocks back lots of wine.  After dinner we have a bit of a sing song outside (much to John’s embarrassment) and the “chiefs” are given a necklace each.  One would think this the end of the evening – but oh no.  We have this crazy Maori bus driver.  He insists that each nationality on the coach sings a song from their country.  John does a fair rendition of Sweet Chariots while I just giggle.  The driver then gets us to sing “wheels on the bus go round and round” and drives round a roundabout about 30 times until we all feel vaguely sick.  He’s actually very amusing – informative but doesn’t take himself too seriously.  Return about 10.30pm to a quiet SilverFern (hurrah!) and get a good night’s sleep.