I was headed to Napier to check out a GOO waterfront B&B that is for sale and an afternoon wine tour of the world-famous Hawkes Bay (home of GLBT friendly Kim Crawford Wines) - but I never made it past Rotorua and the lure of Rainbow Mountain.
Like our 8 colour rainbow flag (used in rainbowtourism.com logo), the layers of minerals found in the valley of volcanoes is many-hued. Hence, Rainbow Mountain with red, orange, green, blue and purple mineral deposits through the eons. The original bathing pools were pink, but they were destroyed in an 1886 eruption which claimed the lives of 108 Maori dwellers.
I met several Maori gays and lesbians on this tour of the Bay of Plenty to Taupo, and spotted even more GLBT visitors during my tour of the geyser. Thanks to Elite Adventures for taking me along on their eco tour (to spots where much of the Lord of Rings was filmed), and thanks to Laurie Morrison who's developing a historic walking tour of the village with special emphasis on women of the tribes and their role in settling the region. Good luck with Morrison Maori Magic Tours!
When you go to Rotorua, you have a choice of budget accommodation with free mineral baths to soak away the day's adventures and walking. I stayed at the lesbian-managed In the Zone, a brand new, squeaky clean and well-finished backpackers. Right next store, the old Regent Motel is being transformed by two gay guys, Darren and Brett, who already operate a fine accommodation on the Gold Coast in QLD.
Driving back to Auckland Airport, you pass through Hamilton. If you need to stay for a sleep, Leone has a homestay for men or women, and the Ambassador Motor Inn is well-situated on the main street.
Maybe next trip I'll make it to Napier!
Bye for now, Deetouring Dee