The following day was the first rainy day of my trip. I opened the bathroom window to let out the steam from a shower and the gassy volcanic smell of Rotorua seeped in. I found myself taking deep breaths as if addicted to the fumes.
I headed to the opposite side of Mt Tarawera from the boat cruise I took the previous day. Nearby stood the village of Te Wairoa, destroyed by Mt Tarawera’s eruption in 1886. Part of the destroyed site was excavated, revealing old Maori houses (whare), bottles, plates, and other tools of the times.
There was a stillness about the area, a sense of loss. How interesting it was to read that on the day of the eruption, a guide ignored three unusual occurrences: the water receded from the lake and returned; a warrior canoe was seen but never responded to calls (a Maori belief that seeing this was a warning of something to come); and more fumes belched than usual near the Pink and White Terraces.
Back on the highway, I passed Blue and Green Lakes which were deep shades of those hues. The surrounding hills were laden with clusters of fern trees. Back in town, I wandered aimlessly until I stumbled upon a second hand bookstore that had an excellent, though pricey book on the eruption that piqued my curiosity to know more.