Buried Village, Digging Up more Adventure!

Road Trip Day 3
January 3, 2014

View of Mt. Tarawera, which destroyed the Pink and White Terraces - the Eighth Wonder of the World

View of Mt. Tarawera, which destroyed the Pink and White Terraces - the Eighth Wonder of the World

Before we left Roturua, we made a final stop at the Buried Village. The Buried Village was established by a European Christian missionary in the 1840s and was a model village where both Maori and European settlers lived. In 1866, Mt. Tarawera erupted burying the village and more than 150 people in its mud and ash. The eruption also took with it, the eighth wonder of the world: The Pink and White Terraces. The terraces were formed as water, containing silica, flowed from the boiling geysers at the top down the hillside. The water cooled and crystallized into the terraces and pools, forming giant staircases or waterfalls where visitors from around the world would travel to see.

The world famous Pink and White Terraces as painted by JC Hoyte in the 1870's prior to the eruption of Mount Tarawera. Image: Hocken Collections, University of Otago. Source

The world famous Pink and White Terraces as painted by JC Hoyte in the 1870's prior to the eruption of Mount Tarawera. Image: Hocken Collections, University of Otago. Source

Here three men (one Pākehā and two Māori) share a bath at the White Terrace, about 1880. Source

Here three men (one Pākehā and two Māori) share a bath at the White Terrace, about 1880. Source

Our Maori tour guide, Lyn showed us the remnants and petrified artifacts of the village, while sharing Maori stories and superstitions with us. It was strange think of all the people who had lived here and come before us, not knowing the threat of Mt. Tarawera in the distance. I would have loved to see the Pink and White Terraces, but all that exists are paintings and a few old photos.

Joe and I being sprayed by the waterfall in the Buried Village.

Joe and I being sprayed by the waterfall in the Buried Village.

 

 

At the end of our tour, we climbed through the jungles to find a beautiful waterfall and view of the mountains surrounding the lake below. This was probably one of my favorite stops on our journey. Although I am not a huge fan of guided tours, Lyn was so passionate about her culture and the story of the land where her family now lives, that it made it worth while. We learned so much, and it made me even more aware of how alive and active New Zealand is. It’s a little scary, but as my dad says, “if God wants me, he knows where to find me.”

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On the second half of our final day of the road trip, we drove through the coastal towns of the Bay of Plenty and hiked Mt. Maunganui (also a must-do!). Along the path to the top of the mountain, sheep grazed.

Below we could see the roaring waves of crystal blue water. Every now and then I peeked over the edge of the cliff to see the rocks below. We were pretty high up!

View as we climbed to the top

View as we climbed to the top

It was a fairly challenging climb and the sun was hot. Some how Gabrielle and Joe convinced me to join them on the “closed track,” which consisted of climbing up quite a lot of steep and unstable rocks. But hey, it added to the excitement and made the view at the top even more worth it. There was an image I’d been seeing pop up in google images and saying, “I want to go there!” And without even realizing it, I was there. I held up the brochure from my backpack next to the actual view. We’re here! I snapped my own photo.

Finally found the view I've been chasing!

Finally found the view I've been chasing!

I felt satisfied… and ready for some gelato. We climbed back down through the jungle, grabbed a snack and began the 3-hour drive back to Napier. What a road trip! It’s amazing what you can do in 3 days.