Rotorua sits by a large lake famed for its black swans and a dubious legend concerning the island in the middle of it. Rotorua is NZ's number one tourist spot because of its stronghold of Maori culture and its thermal springs.
Location Maori Arts and Crafts Institute
This has spledidly carved reconstructions of a traditional Maori village. There is also a community with more conventional architechture but the disconcerting sight of steam emerging from underneath several houses.
The guided tour takes you past pools of bubbling mud and some very active geysers. I can't think why more visitors don't get boiled. The guidebook ascribes the terrific honk surrounding Rotorua to "a perfectly harmless natural gas". I ascribe it to hydrogen sulphide. When Netscape supports hptp (hyper pong transfer protocol) then I will update this RottingRua page.
Location Paradise Valley wildlife park
A well presented collection of NZ fauna. Ecologically, NZ is distinguished by its isolation from the rest of the world following the continental break-up 180M years ago. There are no native quadrupeds apart from a species of lizard. The lack of preditors may have been responsible for several species of birds (including the Kiwi) loosing the ability to fly.
When the Europeans arrived in NZ they brought in (by accident or design) species such as red deer and the opossum which are having an adverse effect on the native bush. There are also plants, such as gorse and ragwort, which are not wholly welcome.
This German made "water organ" has computer controlled valves, servos and lights which keep time with the music.
New Zealand is supposed to be the country most like Britain. Hmm, well. A quiet bowls match - yes. Steam rising around the lawn - no.