Day Eighteen: Boxing Day and The Split Off

What in the heck is the big deal about boxing? I thought you’d never ask. Here in New Zealand (and many other places whose roots can be traced back to Mother England) the day after Christmas is traditionally celebrated as Boxing Day. While I suspect it’s no longer the day that employers give gifts to their employees (or servants, for those who have them!) it IS a day that darn near everyone takes off from work. Like the after-Christmas sales in the states, there are Boxing Day Sales. Many of the smaller shops and restaurants will still be closed and banks are closed as well. I started the day by taking my friend Dian to the cute little airport in Rotorua so that she can take a flight to Dunedin on the south island. On the way there we spotted this in a roadside hedge:

Santa in the hedge

Rotorua airport sign

Rotorua airport control tower.

Rotorua airport control tower.

That's the actual departure terminal. Told you it was a tiny airport!

That’s the actual departure terminal. Told you it was a tiny airport!

After dropping Dian off I went back to Silver Fern to pack it up and check out. From there it was a fast trip into downtown to get caffeinated at Robert Harris Coffee and then a stop at Whakarewarera Thermal Village. That’s the SHORT version of the name!

Silver Fern Accommodation

Our room, directly in front of our white rental car.

Our room, directly in front of our white rental car.

Thermal 1 Village sign

 

Thermal 3

Thermal 4 warning sign red

Thermal 5 Tapuna Whare

This is the "heart" of the village, where all important community business happens.

This is the “heart” of the village, where all important community business happens.

Thermal 7 whare tiki detail

Thermal 8 looking up at whare ceiling

Thermal 9 church bell

Thermal 10 - b Bowler hat tiki

Thermal 10 tourism sign 1

Thermal 11 tourism sign 2

Memorial Gate for fallen Maori soldiers.

Memorial Gate for fallen Maori soldiers.

One of many "guardians" throughout the village.

One of many “guardians” throughout the village.

Fancy a mud facial? This stuff is HOT, and burbles away belching steam all the time.

Fancy a mud facial? This stuff is HOT, and burbles away belching steam all the time.

Geyser erupting!

Geyser erupting!

The village school, where children learn Te Reo Maori.

The village school, where children learn Te Reo Maori.

Thermal 15 guardians 3

Thermal 14 guardians 2

The food here is cooked in either the hot pools (veggies) or in ovens built into the ground  that capture geothermal steam.

The food here is cooked in either the hot pools (veggies) or in ovens built into the ground that capture geothermal steam.

Thermal 19 houses and steam

The oven where meat is cooked and puddings are steamed.

The oven where meat is cooked and puddings are steamed.

Our guide. She grew up in the village. There are about 70 people living there now.

Our guide. She grew up in the village. There are about 70 people living there now.

Lest We Forget

Lest We Forget

Guide Sophia, famous guide from the time of the Pink and White Terraces.

Guide Sophia, famous guide from the time of the Pink and White Terraces.

What the people who did the cultural show looked like.

What the people who did the cultural show looked like.

Crazy collection of mashers up on the wall in a gift shop by the village.

Crazy collection of mashers up on the wall in a gift shop by the village.

Crazy collection of mashers up on the wall in a gift shop by the village.

Crazy collection of mashers up on the wall in a gift shop by the village.

Tiki door handle in the same shop.

Tiki door handle in the same shop.

Odd random plate that made me smile.

Odd random plate that made me smile.

Tennyson Drive Rotorua.  STILL not the "right" Tennyson, but soon folks. I promise...

Tennyson Drive Rotorua.
STILL not the “right” Tennyson, but soon folks. I promise…

Holden the home made trailer version!

Holden the home made trailer version!

Love the color. Not that I'd actually buy one in that shade...

Love the color. Not that I’d actually buy one in that shade…

We tried to stop for lunch at Pizza Library before leaving town. The place we’d found a menu for was closed. Total lunch fail!!

DRAT!! It was closed for Boxing Day. Such a bummer.

DRAT!! It was closed for Boxing Day. Such a bummer.

All their pizzas are named after books.

All their pizzas are named after literary characters.

From there it was time to get on the road again, heading for The Hobbit Hotel at Woodlyn Park near Waitomo Caves. I’ll have to post about that later though. The wi-fi signal is outside the office, and while the place is pretty enough, it’s 9 pm and the mosquitoes have found me!! I’m seriously going to have to bail for the night! Tomorrow we have a travel day, then I’ll be heading to the airport in Auckland and going to the south island. More to come as wi-fi is available.

Our trunk. Not my cute kiwi purchase though.

Our trunk. Not my cute kiwi purchase though.

Sneak preview of upcoming post:

OUR hobbit hole

OUR hobbit hole

Welcome to Otorohanga

Waitomo Caves totem

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