For The Traveler

For the Traveler  (photos of New Zealand by Cordula Reins)

Every time you leave home,
Another road takes you
Into a world you were never in.

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New strangers on other paths await.
New places that have never seen you
Will startle a little at your entry.

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Old places that know you well
Will pretend nothing
Changed since your last visit.

0447_tongariroWhen you travel, you find yourself
Alone in a different way,
More attentive now
To the self you bring along,1011_okarito_mountain_view
Your more subtle eye watching
You abroad; and how what meets you
Touches that part of the heart
That lies low at home:0435_tongariro_taranaki_fallsHow you unexpectedly attune
To the timbre in some voice,
Opening a conversation
You want to take in0705_lake_tekapo_bridgeview
To where your longing
Has pressed hard enough
Inward, on some unsaid dark,
To create a crystal of insight
You could not have known
You needed
To illuminate
Your way.1021_franz_josef_glacierWhen you travel,
A new silence
Goes with you,0828_tsse_cruise_lake_wakatipu
And if you listen,
You will hear
What your heart would
Love to say.0370_wai_o_tapu_champagne_poolA journey can become a sacred thing:
Make sure, before you go,
To take the time
To bless your going forth,0152_paihia_morning
To free your heart of ballast
So that the compass of your soul
Might direct you toward
The territories of spirit
Where you will discover
More of your hidden life,
And the urgencies
That deserve to claim you.0778_milford_soundMay you travel in an awakened way,
Gathered wisely into your inner ground;0954_walk_to_fox_glacierThat you may not waste the invitations
Which wait along the way to transform you.0579_abel_tas_np_onetahutiMay you travel safely, arrive refreshed,
And live your time away to its fullest;
Return home more enriched, and free
To balance the gift of days which call you.0498_winetasting_lookout_hill_cheers

John O’Donohue
from: To Bless the Space Between Us

Special thanks to Cordulia Reins for sharing  her beautiful vision.

 

Fly safe,

JAZ

 

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Driving To Rotorua, New Zealand

Driving To Rotorua, New Zealand

“There came a time, he realized, when the strangeness of everything made it increasingly difficult to realize the strangeness of anything. “James Hilton, Lost Horizon

In theory, a road trip sounds very appealing. A road trip through New Zealand sounds really cool. Since I get carsick, I don’t have much road trip experience.  I was willing to give it a go to see New Zealand.

An hour and a half out of Auckland is the Karangahake Gorge. It is a great place to go walking and I wish I had spent more time there. There are hard walks, bush walks, easy walks, abandoned mines, railroad tunnels (bring a torch because they are dark and long), river walks and waterfalls. It is a hike (or tramp as they say in New Zealand) through history and nature at its best.

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You start by crossing a big swing bridge. It is always fun crossing a big swing bridge.

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In 1885 it was a prosperous goldmine. By 1920, the gold had run out and there are remnants of the machinery and buildings of a century ago.

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There are mining tunnels that you can explore built into the mountain but you should bring better light than just the torch on your iPhone. We found the train tunnel.

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It was dark, wet and the ground is uneven. I found it mildly frightening because you can’t see a way out.

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At first, it was adventurous using my iPhone torch to hike but it went on for a little too long for me.  I decided to retrace my steps and go walk by the river and find the waterfalls instead.

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We continue on to Rotorua. When early missionaries to the shores of Rotorua stumbled upon the great sprays of water that shoot into the air and the pools of bubbling, boiling mud, they must have thought they were getting a glimpse at the fires of hell itself – a view undoubtedly reinforced by what seems like the stench of rotten eggs that fills the region.

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Rotorua is a geothermal wonderland. There is a strong Maori presence in Rotorua. They saw themselves as the guardians of these lands.

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We go directly to the Hot Spring Pools which are located in Manupirua Bay on Lake Rotoiti. It is only accessible by boat.

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The boat is beautiful and completely refurbished  with an expert crew of women. The captain was pregnant. http://www.purecruise.co.nz

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There are different mineral-rich outdoor pools to soak in. These are fed by a natural spring and vary in heat temperature. They are just meters from the very cold lake edge. It is good to jump in a cold lake to get the sulfur off and close your pores.

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The next morning I opted for a mud bath and massage. How could you not go to a spa called Hell’s Gate? Hell’s Gate is the only Maori owned geothermal park in New Zealand. The English name came from the playwright George Bernard Shaw who visited in the early nineteen hundreds. He said that he was sure this must be the gateway to hell that his colleagues said he would pass through as long as he remained an atheist. The Maori kept the name. http://www.hellsgate.co.nz/

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It is owned by the Ngati Rangiteaorere tribe of Maori who have lived on this special site for over 700 years. It is on a volcanic plateau.

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You start with a walk through the mud pools, erupting geysers and hot springs.

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The signs tell the Maori myths and stories of those pools.

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It takes about forty-five minutes to do the walk.

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I was kind of in awe of the special landscape.

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I went on to the mud bath where I was given a container of mud to cover myself with. (sorry no photos)

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After twenty minutes, you rinse off in cold water and go into the sulfur pools, followed by a massage. Yes, your pores will exude sulfur for the next twenty-four hours from the mud but your skin will be very smooth and the area smells of rotten eggs anyway so no one will notice. It was the best mud bath experience I have ever had and highly recommend it.

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Volcanic activity over thousands of years created large craters that filled with water to form the  lakes throughout the Rotorua region. They are steeped in Maori history.  (Lake Tikitapu- Blue Lake)

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The geothermal theme park of Wai-O-Tapu is about 20 minutes’ drive south of Rotorua,. It is a Maori word and means sacred waters.

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Walking routes around the park take you past bubbling mud, sulphur waterfalls, exploding geysers, giant fern trees, steaming vents and lakes in neon oranges, yellows and greens.

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They are given their color by mineral deposits.

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The  lagoons fizz with steam and orange ,gold and green fluorescent bubbles.

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The park takes on a surreal, dream like quality. I shoot too many photos to remember the strange beauty of it all.

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Fly safe,
JAZ