Mystical Mt. Ngongotaha Gondola Ride
Tauranga, New Zealand
- Gondola ride: Step into the glass-enclosed gondola for a scenic 10-minute ride that rises 1,597 feet to Ngongotaha's Summit, which the Maori call "the Altar of the Gods."
- Spectacular views: Have your camera ready to capture amazing sights from the gondola and the top of the mountain, including Lake Rotorua and the area's rugged volcanic terrain.
- Mountain fairies: While at the top, take a walk on the nature trails and explore the land once occupied by patu-paiarehe, fairy people. Stories say there are still some in the woods, and you can hear their flutes when mist covers the mountain.
About This Tauranga Tour
Nobody knew they were there, so the story goes. The Maori lived happily around Lake Rotorua and the base of Ngongotaha Mountain, unnamed at the time and thought to be uninhabited – until the day a warrior named Ihenga saw smoke high up on the mountain.
He went to investigate, first climbing through thick fern, then through a dense forest. The climb made him very thirsty, but there was no water anywhere. He kept pushing forward until, at the top, he came upon strange beings – strong, athletic, with supernatural powers of enchantment.
Their languages were similar, so Ihenga spoke with them for hours, mesmerized. He was brought water in a gourd, or calabash, afterward naming the mountain Ngongotaha: "to drink" (ngongo) from a calabash (taha).
The most intriguing part of the story is Ihenga's detailed account of the fairy people's appearance. A few had skin the color of red ochre; but most were described as fair-skinned, including some with blue eyes, and many with red or blonde hair. The fairies resembled Europeans.
Except this account predates the arrival of Europeans in New Zealand by hundreds of years.
The fairy flutists of Ngongotaha
Maori legend says the Ngongotaha fairies used flutes to lure people to their mountain lair. The seductive sounds were especially irresistible to beautiful women, casting a spell that would compel their return whenever an amorous fairy played a tune. So ladies: If you go walking on the trails at the top of Ngongotaha and hear a flute, cover your ears. Unless you're in the mood for romance.
Please make your way to 185 Fairy Springs Rd, Fairy Springs, Rotorua to begin your adventure.
This tour offers independent exploration, giving you maximum flexibility to GoBe whatever and wherever you like and for the amount of time you wish to spend.
The amount of walking is at the traveler's discretion while visiting the attraction. Varying surfaces will be encountered during your tour.
Cultural, Tickets, Walking Tour
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Suitable for all ages.
Non-refundable if canceled within 24 hours of requested services.
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