My last few days were spent in Rotorua and these days were good. Really really good!
I had been given the strong advice to say in the “Funky Green Voyager” backpackers and this turned out to be great advice. Lovely place, very friendly people and very conductive to socializing and making friends. The staff are strangely world wise, have better deals with all local attractions, so you actually end up booking everything via them, and they have encouraged me to try to buy a car when I go down south (island wise).
I thought I would spent a quiet two days there, but I thought wrong. In my four action packed days I did:
– Spent a night in the local pub and making friends with the local English and Scottish working-visa tourists
– Spent the next day hiking with a bit of a hangover
– Did the Kaikura river white water rafting. (grade 5 because of the 7 meter waterfall drop)
This is the big drop. I’m in there somewhere…
– Spent an afternoon doing mountain biking in the local forest. Great stuff! Later I heard that these were supposedly the best mountain bike tracks in NZ. Nice!
But the best activity was still the guided tour in a local Maori village. The tour started with only me, but later others joined as well. The excelent guide -Sonny- was really passionate about telling about Maori culture, but also letting you experience his culture. So much better than the dinner show where you just get to watch and take pictures. And no high entry fee as well, just a -choose your amount- donation at the end. This really gave me the best insight into any strange culture I have yet learned about.
I took this picture of an earlier group, but the guide and the village are the same.
And then it was time to say goodbye. I thought it was about time that I started my way down, so I concocted the ideal plan for my voyage to the south island. First I’d take an overnight bus to Wellington, and there take a cheap flight to Christchurch. Flights are much cheaper than busses and ferries, so the plan was perfect. And since I am able to sleep on airplane seats, bus seats would be no problem as well.
And that’s where the things started going pear shaped. My bus was scheduled to leave 11:25 and head south to Wellington. The bus was coming in from Auckland, we were supposed to board it in Rotorua and then it would head on to Wellington and arrive at about 6:50.
But instead we left 11:45 heading north. The bus from Auckland had broken down about an hours drive north of Rotorua and our bus was the cavalery, coming to rescue them and then head back down. And so we did. Poor fellows waiting in the middle of nowhere some sleeping in sleeping bags on the grass. At about 1:00 they were all boarded and we started heading south again towards Rotorua.
Our bus never made it. A incessant beeping noise informed us that the cooling of the second bus had failed, and the engine was now overheating. No amount of extra water could help that, and the second bus was declared unfit for further travel. Hmmm. No worries, we met up with a third bus, a smaller one, that would take us. I helped out with transferring the luggage from our bus to the new one, and then just when I was about to board myself, one of the passengers started whining that there were no seats left. He really was annoying about it, but then again he was also right. I spent the next few hours lying on the floor in the bus, trying not to slide away when it took corners. Not too comfortable. When we reached the next stop some passangers left and I had a decent seat again. Didn’t get much sleep though, and in the end we arrived at Wellington roughly at noon, making for a nice round five hours delay. I think the whole thing was hilarious. But I might consider using a different bus company next time…
Last time I was in Wellington I arrived in the evening, not seeing anything of the city. This time I slept through the day, to wake up once again at night. It must be a nice city, but it’s always so dark when I’m there :)