Auckland Baptist Tramping Club

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A total of 12 people enjoyed a varied weekend in Rotorua. We travelled to Rotorua in three cars. One car of Chinese people left in the morning, and had a look at the Zealong Tea Estate in Gordonton on the way. The second car left in the early afternoon to arrive in Rotorua as it got dark, and the last one travelled down in the evening. Our base was the Rotorua Thermal Holiday Park where we had four kitchen cabins and all bedding was provided. There were free thermal pools available for a welcome soak.


As we rose and had breakfast, the weather was overcast and misty, and the forecast was for rain. After some discussion it was decided to go ahead with our planned tramp in Waiotapu Forest starting at Kerosene Creek, as many of us were still keen to see this. We left soon after 9am and arrived at Kerosene Creek where we had a look at the natural hot springs in the cascading stream. Once upon a time there was a track going across the stream, but we could not find this so we had no choice but to follow the forestry roads.
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Our intention was first of all go to the Waiotapu Mud Pool but we ended up on a different track after having to get around some trees that had fallen over in a storm and blocked the track. We stopped at a junction at 11am for a snack break, and by now rain was beginning to set in. After John used his Viewranger (a topo maps smartphone app with GPS) to determine our position we decided to cut the tramp short and go back out a different way. Forestry roads in private commercial forests may not be marked, and having a map GPS such as Viewranger is essential - this was what we used to find our way back to Kerosene Creek with no difficulty whatsoever.
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Although the weather turned for the worse, and some of us didnít like the idea of going out in the rain, we were all in a happy mood the whole time, and there was no moaning or grumbling.

We were back at the carpark by midday. While most of us opted to return to the holiday park and enjoy the hot pools there, Andrew and Diana joined the Chinese people to swim in the natural hot pools and cascades of Kerosene Creek.

Gary, Margaret, Sonia and Diana had a look at Bibleworld that afternoon, as Gary needed to leave to go home first thing next morning for work commitments.

We had our dinner at Deli Roasts, a budget-price quick-service eatery in the centre of town where the second car load had dined the previous night before arriving at the holiday park. Roast dinners were in the $12-$15 range, with the "small" size being that of a normal helping of dinner, and about $4 bought an apple crumble and custard dessert of a good size. The Chinese group settled for a dinner of noodles elsewhere. A torchlight night walk along the lakeside walkway from the Government Gardens around Sulphur Point to Ohinemutu which we planned to do after our dinner had to be knocked on the head as the rain made a return.

Because of the weather, we were unable to have a time for devotions on the track. In one of the cabins Andrew shared from The Word For Today about being prepared to accept change in our lives through following God and His will, with three others who had been playing a game of hangman in the cabin.
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John presented the devotions he had intended to do in the Waiotapu Forest to the whole group in the dining room straight after breakfast. He shared about Matariki, the Maori new year, traditionally a time for reflection, renewal and celebration. We see unusual aspects of God's creation such as hot springs, auroras, spectacular formations, fluorescent minerals that glow under ultraviolet light, and so on, plus more common aspects such as dogs trained to sniff drugs, and birds designed to eat bread and bring lots of pleasure to people who feed them. All this is evidence that there is definitely a God and not just chance or "big bang" theory that unbelieving scientists try to prove. God also created within us our senses of sight, hearing, smell and taste to allow us to admire the awesomeness of His creation and worship Him. He did this because He loves us immensely, so much that He sent Jesus Christ to die and rise again on the third day so we can live forever in heaven and a new earth that will have even more of His awesome creation.

We packed up and checked out of the holiday park. While Gary and his car load had to get home to Auckland quickly, the rest of us went to do a walk at Okere Falls now that the liquid sunshine had given way to real sunshine. This was a short walk with several interesting things to see. First of all we went down a light of steps to the edge of the raging Kaituna River and saw a whitewater rafting group and a kayaker go shooting down the Okere Falls.
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We came back up to the top and carried on to a lookout over the falls before going down Hinemoaís Steps through a tunnel carved in the edge of the rocky bluff to come to Tutea Cave. Back in the 1970s-80s it was possible to walk into the cave, but there was now a barrier fence that Mr Osh had built where we were able to view and take flash photos of the cave.
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Back up the steps we went, and we carried on to the Trout Pool. Although we did not see any trout, we were able to enjoy the riverside and pose for photos.
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We returned up the road to the carpark, then drove back to Rotorua and had coffee at the Bathhouse Museum café. The coffee was presented with a very artistic mandala on the surface.
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Before heading home we had a look at Bibleworld, a museum about the Bible. There were lots of interesting displays about the Holy Land from the time of Abraham to the time of Jesus, including the Tabernacle, the Temple, the tomb of Christ, and Jerusalem in the times of Abraham and Christ. There were genuine artefacts from that time, armour that one can put on for a photo, a Dutch Bible 250 years old, and much more. Well worth visiting, we all enjoyed it very much.
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Hunterís car went straight home afterwards, with a tea break at Matamata, while the Chinese group went to Redwoods and did a walk through the pine forest to rack up their total walking for the day to 5km, before going home in the evening.

COST: travel $54, accommodation $44, food(2 breakfasts) $10